Robert Kuok began in business as an office boy, after that he work in his relatives business to complete his graduation after that he worked in his relatives business to complete his graduation. During the Japanese occupation period, Kuok worked in Mitsubishi Shoji Kaisha a Japanese rice trading industrial conglomerate as a clerk since 1942 to 1945 In Singapore, a conglomerate which with the help of Japanese military unit monopolized the rice trade in Malaya during the occupation period. He was soon promoted to head the rice-trading department. After the war, he took the skills that he learned from the Japanese company back to his company business in Johor. After that, he opens his first company in Singapore with 100 thousand Malaysia ringgit doing Business management, ship broking, grocery industries. After 1 year Kuok's father dead, because of this reason he comes back to Malaysia and continues kuok's family business. After two years in his mother, Zheng Ge Ru recommendation, Robert Kuok and his two brothers and a cousin founded Kuok Brothers Sdn Bhd in 1949 doing rice, flour, beans, sugar business and more. Since Kuok outstanding ability and insight, he was elected as the chairman of the company.
In 1952, Kuok's brothers William Kuok was participating in Malaysian Communist Party and was killed during the 'Malaysian Emergency'. And this cause Kuok family was monitored by the authorities.This difficult situation forces him temporary leave Malaysia and goes to the United Kingdom. In that period, he does a deep research on his business and study about the knowledge od international trade, especially the sale of sugar.
in 1957 Kuok see the opportunity when Malaya gained independence, British economic forces subsided, Malaya government need to independent the economic development. in 1959 Robert Kuok formed Malayan Sugar Manufacturing Co. Bhd. together with two prominent Japanese partners. He also brought many influential Malay elite into his company as directors and shareholders which include UMNO politician and Malay royalty in Penang. he bought the raw sugar from Thailand and purify it in his own industries. After that sold it to all part Malaysia.In 1961, he made a coup by buying cheap sugar from India before the prices shot up. He continued to invest heavily in sugar refineries, controlled 80% of the Malaysian sugar market with production of 1.5 million tons, equivalent to 10% of world production, and so earned his nickname "Sugar King of Asia".
In 1971, Kuok built his the Shangri-La hotel in Singapore. In 1977 is the first time he foray into hong kong property. When he acquired a plot of land on the Tsim Shat Sui, where he built the second hotel Kow Long Shangri-La. In 1993, he acquired a 34.9% stake in the south china morning post from Murdoch's News corporation. His companies also invest in many countries such as Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, mainland china, Australia and Fiji. Business in china is include bottling companies for Coca-Cola, cooking oil, and also the ownership of the Beijing world.