Billionaire Hui Wing Mau keeps a low profile
He's one of Australia's wealthiest citizens with a rags-to-riches tale, but most people would never have heard of billionaire Hui Wing Mau.
The property tycoon is nipping on the heels of more familiar rich-list figures, like James Packer and Frank Lowy, with his $6.35 billion fortune.
Coming in sixth on BRW's recently released list of richest Australians, Mr Hui started as a textile factory worker but rose to become one of the biggest property developers in China.
The 64-year old is the chairman and founder of Hong-Kong based Shimao Property Holdings, which as of December 2013 had a land bank of 36.15 million square metres and 104 projects underway.
Mr Hui made a surprise debut in seventh place on BRW's rich list last year after it was discovered that he held Australian citizenship.
Notoriously private and elusive about his business dealings, the details of his career and life are scant and difficult to come by.
The oldest of eight children, Mr Hui grew up poor in Fujian Province, on the southeast coast of mainland China. He parents gave him the Putonghua name of Xu Rongmao, although he now uses his Cantonese name.
After finishing highschool he went to work as a "barefoot doctor", a concept developed under Mao Zedong which saw peasants given basic medical training and sent to work in rural villages.
Mr Hui moved to Hong Kong in the late 1970s and started working in a textile factory. He reportedly started trading stocks and investing in textile factories, before he bought a knitting factory in his hometown in 1988.
Some have speculated that's Mr Hui was all along constructing a hotel rather than a factory, even though investment in private hotels was not allowed at the time.
When the government's policy changed, Mr Hui became the owner of China's first private three star hotel.
It was in the 1990s that Mr Hui and his family moved to Darwin and he started investing in real estate in Australia.
He completed a MBA via distance-learning from Adelaide University and his son Jason, the company's current vice chairman, studied business at the University of Technology in Sydney.
It's unclear exactly when Mr Hui became an Australian citizen but he later returned to China to take advantage of the rapidly-expanding Shanghai and Beijing markets and has made it his base since.
His name made Australian headlines in 2004 when it was revealed he was one of the two biggest individual donors to the NSW branch of the Australian Labor Party for the 2002-03 financial year.
"We knew he was going for elections," his son told the Herald at the time.
"We just tried to support him. It was just a one-off donation. I don't think it was the first time, but the lump sum was a bit more. We do a lot of donations."
Mr Hui has also forged close ties with the political elite in China. He is a member of the distinguished National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, an advisory body to the central government.
His company more than doubled its gross profit in 2013 and this year it will have 16.90 million square metres* of land under construction.
One of its major projects is the $548 million InterContinental Shimao Hotel, which is being built in an abandoned quarry outside of Shanghai and will include underwater rooms and an aquarium.
According to Forbes, Mr Hui is the 12 richest person in China and the 244th in the world.
In Australia, his fortune trails behind Gina Rinehart, Anthony Pratt, James Packer, Franky Lowy and Ivan Glasenberg.
*Correction: An earlier version of this story said square kilometres instead of square metres.