While Hongkongers were busy protesting against the government the last few weeks, one young man was busy dropping close to a billion Hong Kong dollars to buy his dream home.
The 22-year-old man, a relative unknown before this story hit the local press, was reported to have spent HK$916 million ($117 million) on a luxury house located on The Peak, one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in Hong Kong.
The six-storey house boasts 8,674 square feet (806 square meters) of space and includes a 4,352 square foot garden, a 198 square foot balcony, a 1,178 square foot rooftop, a swimming pool and a private lift.
It is located in the super-deluxe Mount Nicholson development, a collection of 19 ultra-luxury houses and 48 exclusive apartments housed in four residential towers, all boasting spectacular mountain and sea views of Victoria Harbour.
Now Asia’s priciest address and a new status symbol for the region’s ultra-high-net-worth individuals, the development was reported in the South China Morning Post two years ago to boast the continent’s three most expensive homes.
In the sale, completed on June 25, the house fetched a cool HK$105,603 ($13,505) per square foot.
Earlier this year, an anonymous Hong Kong buyer paid $36 million as downpayment for another house on Mount Nicholson, only to walk away from the deal after losing faith in the city’s property market, forfeiting the entirety of his deposit.
22-year-old Matthew Cheung Siu-woon is the son of Guangzhou native Kenny Cheung who moved to Hong Kong in his early 20s and then migrated to Australia.
A self-made man, Kenny Cheung started out by selling paint for one of Australia’s largest paint companies in China’s booming property sector.
His business has since evolved into a diverse conglomerate with interests spanning the real estate, education, agri-business and resources sectors.
The various businesses have been placed under the family’s holdings and investment company, Cheung & Sons.
Matthew Cheung is listed on the company’s website as being responsible for the group’s education portfolio, on top of being the CEO of his own education company.
In his official biography, he was described as having founded his first venture as a 19-year-old student at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
The company provided Chinese teaching solutions to public schools in the United Kingdom, developing content and sourcing part-time teachers.
According to Ta Kung Pao, Matthew Cheung spent HK$117 million on an 2,758 square foot apartment at 55 Conduit Road in the Mid Levels in 2016, before selling it to an Alice Zhang this May for HK$120 million. As it turns out, this woman is his own mother.
Through some curious maneuvering, the young man was somehow able to buy his fancy new house as a “first time buyer”, saving a cool HK$100 million in stamp duties.
Eventually, he only paid 4.25% in stamp duties, amounting to HK$38.93 million. Non-first-time buyers in Hong Kong pay a flat 15% in stamp duties.