Hong Kong movie legend Chow Yun-fat says he plans to leave his entire fortune worth HKD5.6 billion (almost NZ$1.1b) to charity, Chinese media has reported.

The 63-year-old star of the Oscar-winning film 'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon' is known for leading a humble and frugal lifestyle, spending only HKD800 ($NZ155) a month. In fact, Chow is often spotted taking public transit and shopping at discount stores.

The down-to-earth actor has also been using his first-generation Nokia phone for more than 17 years before upgrading to a smartphone two years ago, after his Nokia had stopped working.

Hong Kong movie legend Chow Yun-fat (pictured) says he plans to leave his entire fortune worth HKD5.6 billion (£543 million) to charity, Chinese media has reported. Photo / Getty Images
Hong Kong movie legend Chow Yun-fat (pictured) says he plans to leave his entire fortune worth HKD5.6 billion (£543 million) to charity, Chinese media has reported. Photo / Getty Images

"The money doesn't really belong to me, I am only in charge of it temporarily," he previously told reporters when he first revealed the plans for his fortune.

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Chow and his wife, Jasmine Tan, have set up their own foundation years ago, according to an earlier interview with Apple Daily. The couple have no children.

Chow and his wife, Jasmine Tan, have set up their own charity foundation years ago. Photo / Getty
Chow and his wife, Jasmine Tan, have set up their own charity foundation years ago. Photo / Getty

"My dream is to be a happy and ordinary person," Chow said. "The hardest thing to achieve in life is not fortune, but how to maintain a peaceful mindset and live the rest of your life in a simple and carefree manner."

Having been working in the film industry for more than 40 years, the superstar has amassed his huge fortune through appearing in blockbusters including A Better Tomorrow (1986), The Killer (1989), Hard Boiled (1992) and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007).

He has won three Hong Kong Film Awards for Best Actor and two Golden Horse Awards for Best Actor. The Los Angeles Times one called him "the coolest actor in the world".