2018: No.46= - £115m
2017: No.40= - £110m
Woon Wing Yip's Chinese food business saw slightly improved pre-tax profits in 2016 to £4.82 million from £4.75 million in 2015. This was despite rises in commodity prices and changes in consumer spending patterns. Turnover was slightly down at £101 million.
Woon Wing Yip OBE continues to invest, and also grow his property business which has £53 million in net assets. In the last few years he has spent around £5 million expanding his Nechells-based Chinese and oriental superstore and headquarters. The business now operates from more than 16 acres at its four sites and employs 360 people.
The Nechells site also includes a 30,000 sq ft warehouse, as well as the existing business centre, two restaurants and the Bank of East Asia. Property consultancy Lambert Smith Hampton has been brought in to take on the facilities management of its distribution hub and superstores.
Wing Yip now supplies more than 2000 Chinese restaurants throughout the UK. His four major outlets in Birmingham, Manchester, Cricklewood and Croydon stock more than 4,500 oriental items. The Croydon store has undergone a £6 million overhaul to double its floor and warehouse space. A new store is planned in Cardiff.
The business, run by Wing Yip’s nephew Henry Yap, is expanding elsewhere, too, including a Chinese superstore in Nottingham and a search for a new site in Manchester.
The company has expanded its traditional Chinese food offering into a pan-Asian concept, covering the cuisine of Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.
Wing Yip is passionate about education – he sees it as the secret of his own success - and has handed out hundreds of bursaries over the last 16 years to youngsters of Chinese descent to help them complete their education in the UK. In addition he has created two undergraduate scholarships for Aston University's business study students.
It was Woon Wing Yip’s ability to speak English when he came to the UK from Hong Kong more than 50 years ago that meant he could move up the ladder in business.
He is proud of the fact that his four children – Albert, Brian, Cindy and David - were all able to have a good education, thanks to their father’s success. All his children work in the business with the exception of Cindy who works for a television company in Hong Kong.
Woon Wing Yip, who is 79, arrived in the UK by boat from Hong Kong in 1959, taking a month to complete the journey. He had just £10 in his pocket. After working as a waiter he opened a restaurant in a former tea shop in Clacton-on-Sea and went on to open three more restaurants and two takeaways in East Anglia.
His first Chinese grocers shop opened in Digbeth, Birmingham in 1970, employing just 10 people.
As well as selling Wing Yip branded products in his own supermarkets, they are also sold through national chains and there is a thriving online business.
The Wing Yip business has branched out into property development, management and investment through W Wing Yip and Brothers Property and Investment, with commercial and residential tenants around the country.
He also established the Wing Yip Charitable Trust in 1985, topped up by annual donations from the Wing Yip business, which supports the Prince’s Trust and also gives money to educational, poverty relief and sickness charities.