40 or 50 families control the economies of Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia. Their interests range from banking to property, from shipping to sugar, from vice to gambling. 13 of the 50 richest families in the world are in South East Asia yet they are largely unknown outside confined business circles. Often this is because they control the press and television as well as everything else. How do they do it? What are their secrets? And is it good news or bad for the places where they operate? Joe Studwell explosively lifts the lid on a world of staggering secrecy and shows that the little most people know is almost entirely wrong.