Asia is home to an ever-growing population of millionaires as businesses thrive due to globalisation. Even then, none of them can ever truly trump the dynasties that certain power families have built.
Every year, Forbes tabulates and ranks all of Asia’s wealthiest families, and they just released the list for this year.
Let’s break down the rankings.
Forbes Still Names Samsung As Number One
Undeniably, Samsung has had one hell of shitty second half of 2016. The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was to be the company’s front-line warrior against Apple’s iPhone 7, but alas, it was not meant to be.
After a series of ‘explosions’ which has so far set fire to pants, carpets, sidewalks, and even cars, production of the phone was permanently terminated and they had every unit sold recalled. Then there were the issues with their washing machines, and that too prompted a recall.
Still, the Lee family behind Samsung remains the undisputed wealthiest Asian family, keeping the top spot that they held from last year’s ranking. This is a company whose revenue makes up some 22% of South Korea’s gross domestic product (GDP), so they are definitely hard to topple.
Second-placed Chearavanont family is still rather far off with US$1.9 billion separating them from the Lee family.
Singapore’s Well Represented
Of course, there were some notable families residing in Singapore were named among the top 50 list.
At #15 is the Kuok family with Robert Kuok at the head of the Kuok Group, they are worth a total US$13.4 billion. They are the owners of the Shangri-La hotel chain, as well as other ventures in the maritime industry, property and agriculture.
Next, at #23 is the Ng family, who owns Tsim Sha Tsui Properties Ltd, with a valuation of US$8.7 billion.
The family is fully invested in the property market with Robert Ng at the head of Tsim Sha Tsui Properties, while his brother Phillip is the CEO of prominent Singapore developer Far East Organisation, which owns malls such as Orchard Central and Clarke Quay Central.
Then, we have the Khoo family at #29 and they are valued at US$6.2 billion.
If that surname sounds familiar its because the late head of the family, Khoo Teck Puat, has a hospital named after him. Prior to that, Mr Khoo is more well known as the founder of Maybank, which later on purchased the Goodwood Park Hotel.
Today, his daughter, Mdm Mavis Khoo-Oei chairs the Goodwood Group of Hotels, which also counts York Hotel and the Royal Garden Hotel in London as some of its properties.
The Kwee family comes in at #35 in the rankings, and is valued at US$5.4 billion.
Their claim to fame is the Pontiac Land Group, which is now run by four brothers from the family, Liong Keng, Liong Tek, Liong Seen and Liong Phing. They are responsible for some of the most recognisable properties in Singapore like The Capella and the redeveloped Capitol.
An upcoming project puts them in the heart of New York City. Called 53W53, it is designed by famed architect Jean Nouvel and it sits near the Museum of Modern Art as a a high-profile luxury tower.
#41 sees the Wee family taking this spot, along with a net worth of US$4.6 billion.
This family is none other than the owners of United Overseas Bank, chaired by Wee Cho Yaw, son of UOB’s co-founder Kheng Chiang. As expected, the current chairman’s whole family is heavily invested in the bank with eldest son, Ee Cheong, as CEO, while his other sons, Ee Chao and Ee Lim, lead subsidiaries within the bank itself.
Lastly we have the Hirandani family coming in at #46 and values at US$3.8 billion. What started as a humble retail shop called the Royal Silk Store which was founded by their father Naraindas Hiranandani, brothers Raj Kumar and Asok have transformed it into Royal Group Holdings, a company which has since seen its influence to places outside of Singapore such as Australia, Kuala Lumpur and Indonesia. They own several prominent malls along Orchard Road such as Lucky Plaza, Far East Plaza, and Tanglin Shopping Center, as well residences like The Sail, and hotels such as Sofitel So.
With Singapore adding millionaires at a rate faster than Hong Kong, you can expect to see more names on Forbes’ list coming out of Singapore soon.
For the rest of us though, let’s just aspire to create the next billion dollar company, by first putting our ideas to work by creating the next big startup.