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S'pore's 50 Richest In 2020: Haidilao's Power Couple Tops The List With US$19B Net Worth

Business magazine Forbes released today its 2020 Forbes Singapore Rich List, which lists the top 50 richest in Singapore.

The tycoons’ collective wealth has risen from US$37 billion to S$167 billion, amid a declining economy and stock market.

Despite the economic downturn, the combined wealth of Singapore’s top 50 richest rose 28 per cent.

The list was compiled using shareholding and financial information obtained from the families and individuals, stock exchanges, analysts and other sources.

Unlike the billionaire rankings, this list includes family fortunes. Net worths are based on stock prices and exchange rates as of the close of markets on August 3, 2020. Private companies were valued based on similar companies that are publicly traded.

Here’s a quick look at the list of Singapore’s top 10 richest:

1. Zhang Yong and Shu Ping (US$19 billion)

zhang yong haidilao
Image Credit: Forbes

China-born hotpot billionaire Zhang Yong and his wife, both co-founders of Haidilao, have topped the list again this year.

Zhang Yong has added US$5.2 billion to his net worth, and they now have a combined net worth of US$19 billion.

According to Forbes, Haidilao now has US$3.8 billion in sales from 768 restaurants. The sales come mostly from China, but it also comes from the United States, Japan, South Korea and Singapore.

Haidilao is renowned for its spicy dishes and attentive customer service, including offering free manicures for waiting customers.

2. Li Xiting (US$17.8 billion)

li xiting
Image Credit: Forbes

Li Xiting is a new entrant to the list. He is the co-founder and chairman of medical devices supplier Shenzhen Mindray Bio-Medical Electronics, and has a net worth of US$17.8 billion.

A surge in demand for Shenzhen Mindray’s ventilators and other medical devices has sent its Shenzhen-listed shares soaring amid the pandemic.

Mindray donated US$4.6 million worth of medical devices to hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic, including in hard-hit Wuhan and northern Italy.

3. Goh Cheng Liang (US$14.8 billion)

goh cheng liang
Image Credit: Forbes

Goh Cheng Liang moves one spot up to be Singapore’s third richest as his net worth increased to US$14.8 billion from US$9.5 billion last year.

The 93-year-old started off making paints in a small factory in Singapore before he went on to partner with Japan’s Nippon Paint in 1962.

Today, he gets the bulk of his wealth from a stake in the Japanese firm, which is the fourth largest paint manufacturer in the world.

Goh’s son, Hup Jin, became the chairman of Nippon Paint in March 2018 and also runs their privately-held joint venture Nipsea.

In 2019, Nippon Paint acquired Australia’s largest paint manufacturer DuluxGroup for US$2.7 billion, and Turkey’s Betek Boya for US$247 million.

4. Eduardo Saverin (US$14 billion)

eduardo saverin facebook
Image Credit: Forbes

Saverin is the co-founder of social media platform Facebook, along with his Harvard classmate Mark Zuckerberg.

He is now a venture capitalist, but still derives most of his wealth from his small stake in the tech giant. He benefited from the rise of Facebook shares, boosting his wealth to US$14 billion.

In 2016, he launched venture fund B Capital, with BCG and Bain Capital veteran Raj Ganguly. The fund has raised US$766 million so far and invests in late-stage tech firms in Asia, Europe and the United States.

5. Robert & Philip Ng (US$13.2 billion)

robert and philip ng
Image Credit: Forbes

The Ng brothers’ combined net worth rose from US$1.1 billion to US$13.2 billion.

The real estate dynamic duo control Far East Organization, Singapore’s largest private landlord and property developer, which was founded by their father Ng Teng Fong.

Ng Teng Fong moved from China to Singapore in 1934 and was later dubbed the “King of Orchard Road”.

Their Hong Kong arm, Sino Group, is overseen by older sibling Robert and his son Daryl, while Philip oversees the Singapore interests.

6. Kwek Leng Beng & family (US$8.8 billion)

kwek leng beng
Image Credit: Forbes

Kwek Leng Beng is the executive chairman of Singapore’s Hong Leong Group, which was founded by his father in 1941.

He is also the executive chairman of City Developments, Singapore’s second-largest property developer.

Kwek has been aggressively expanding overseas in recent years, acquiring asserts in the UK, China and Australia.

His cousin Quek Leng Chan is also a billionaire, who owns and runs a separate group in Malaysia, also called Hong Leong. On the other hand, Kwek’s son, Sherman, has been the group CEO of City Developments since 2018.

7. Forrest Li (US$7.1 billion)

forrest li sea
Image Credit: Bloomberg

Chairman and CEO Forrest Li added US$5.53 billion to his wealth and entered the ranks of the top ten richest for the first time. 

The Stanford graduate is the founder of online gaming and e-commerce firm Sea, which also has interests in e-payments and financial services.

The COVID-19 pandemic has actually propelled the business to success — it hit record gains as more people turned to gaming and online shopping while under lockdown.

Sea is backed by Tencent, private equity firm General Atlantic and Robert Kuok’s son Kuok Khoon Hua.

(Note: Sea’s other co-founders Gang Ye and David Chen are also on Singapore’s top 50 richest list, ranking No. 11 at US$4.1 billion and No. 25 at US$1.37 billion respectively)

8. Khoo family (US$6.3 billion)

mavis khoo-oei
Image Credit: Forbes

The Khoos are the heirs of late banker Khoo Teck Puat, who invested in Standard Chartered in 1986.

The lion’s share of their fortune comes from the sale of their stake in Standard Chartered Bank for US$4 billion in 2006.

The Khoos also control the Goodwood Group of Hotels, chaired by Mavis Khoo-Oei, which owns Singapore’s Goodwood Park Hotel.

The Khoo Foundation, the family’s charitable arm, funded the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital in Singapore, which opened in 2010.

9. Kwee brothers (US$5.5 billion)

kwee liong tek pontiac land singapore
Image Credit: Forbes

The four Kwee siblings control privately-held Pontiac Land, which owns an array of luxury hotels and iconic office towers in Singapore.

Pontiac Land was founded by their Indonesian father Henry Kwee, who migrated to Singapore in 1958.

In New York, the brothers own a majority stake in an 82-story luxury tower beside the Museum of Modern Art, where penthouses cost more than US$70 million.

Pontiac Land, chaired by Kwee Liong Tek, is building a hotel in a joint venture with the famous Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

10. Wee Cho Yaw (US$5.3 billion)

wee cho yaw singapore uob
Image Credit: Forbes

Wee is the chairman emeritus of United Overseas Bank (UOB). He stepped down as the bank’s chairman in 2013, and retired as director in April 2018.

UOB was co-founded by his father Wee Khiang Cheng in 1935 as United Chinese Bank.

The Wee family also owns a property arm Kheng Leong — its portfolio includes 45 apartments in the Nassim area, a luxury condo which was acquired for US$290 million, among others.

The Wees also controls Haw Par, maker of the iconic Chinese ointment Tiger Balm.

Four Dropped Off The List This Year

According to Forbes, the big gains enjoyed by some listees more than offset the declines suffered by more than half of the tycoons on the list.

Hoteliers such as Koh Wee Meng (No. 41, US$870 million) of the Fragrance Group and Michael Kum (No. 43, US$730 million) of M&L Hospitality saw their fortunes fall as tourism stalled.

Four also dropped off the list, including Lim Oon Kuin, whose privately held Hin Leong Trading, one of Singapore’s largest oil traders, filed in April for bankruptcy.

You can view the full list of Singapore’s top 50 richest here.

Featured Image Credit: Reuters / Finews.asia

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