Chows make debut on Kiwi Rich List

Last updated 05:00 26/07/2013
John and Michael Chow
ROSS GIBLIN/Fairfax NZ
IN THE MONEY: John and Michael Chow's company the Chow Group claims on its website to control more than $200 million in real estate.

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Brothel operators and property developers the Chow brothers have been busy in Auckland and Wellington over the past year, with their efforts landing them on the Rich List for the first time.

John and Michael Chow emigrated from Hong Kong in 1984 and cut their teeth in business working at their parents' takeaway joint in Wellington's Courtenay Place.

The brothers moved into property, first in Wellington and more recently in Auckland, and their Chow Group claims on its website to control more than $200 million in real estate, with ambitions to hit $1 billion by 2020.

The National Business Review puts the brothers' net worth at $50m. John Chow declined to answer questions about his inclusion on the Rich List.

The brothers were quick to move into the sex trade after prostitution was decriminalised in 2003, opening Wellington's first legal brothel, Il Bordello.

Several other brothels, and gyms, supplement the Chow Group's operations.

The Chow brothers' move north attracted headlines in 2010 with their plans to build a 15-storey hotel and brothel complex opposite the Sky Tower. After some controversy the red-light project has finally got the green light.

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