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Forbes 2024 billionaire singapore
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The Forbes 2024 list of the world’s richest people, which was released on Tuesday (April 2), revealed that there are now more billionaires than ever: 2,781 in all, 141 more than last year and 26 more than the record set in 2021.

They are richer than ever, worth US$14.2 trillion in aggregate, up by US$2 trillion from 2023 and US$1.1 trillion above the previous record, also set in 2021.

French luxury goods titan Bernard Arnault topped the ranking for the second consecutive year after his net worth grew by 10 per cent to US$233 billion, while Elon Musk remained in the second spot, with a fortune of US$195 billion, up 8 per cent from 2023.

There were also 265 newcomers to the list, including fashion designer Christian Louboutin, with a net worth of US$1.2 billion, and pop star Taylor Swift, whose wealth stood at US$1.1 billion.

Among the world’s wealthiest, 39 Singaporeans have made this year’s Forbes list, with one-third of them amassing their wealth from real estate.

Out of the 39, we have compiled a list of the 10 wealthiest Singaporeans, with a breakdown of the businesses they helm:

1. Li Xiting

Mindray Li Xiting
Li Xiting/ Image Credit: Mindray

Ranking No. 126 globally, Li Xiting, founder of medical equipment firm Mindray, remains the wealthiest Singaporean on the list. He was born in Anhui, China, but relocated to Singapore and obtained citizenship here in 2018.

The 73-year-old co-founded Mindray in 1991 and achieved his wealth by selling ventilators and medical devices. Due to high demand, Li witnessed a significant increase in his net worth during the Covid-19 pandemic, however, since its peak in 2021, his net worth has seen a steady decline.

According to Forbes, his total net worth of US$15.1 billion this year is down from US$16.3 billion reported in 2023, and his global ranking has also slipped from No. 103 last year.

2. Goh Cheng Liang

Goh Cheng Liang
Goh Cheng Liang/ Image Credit: Ghoul

Following closely behind Li is paint manufacturing tycoon Goh Cheng Liang at No. 154, with a total net worth of US$12.7 billion. He earns most of his wealth from a majority stake in Japan’s Nippon Paint Holdings.

Goh wasn’t always on top of the world. Born to a jobless father and a mother who did laundry for work, he grew up in poverty and sold fishnets and rubber tappers for income. After stumbling into the paint business after World War II, he started making paints in a small factory in Singapore before he partnered with Nippon Paint in 1962. From then onwards, he dominated the field in Singapore and beyond.

Today, his companies, Wuthelam Holdings and Yenom Industries, include a wide array of businesses, from retail and distribution to golf courses, logistics, a Chinese mining company, marinas, hotels, and housing developments worldwide.

3. & 4. Philip Ng and Robert Ng

Philip Ng (pictured left) and Robert Ng (pictured right)/ Image Credit: Tatler

The third and fourth richest Singaporeans to make the 2024 Forbes billionaire list is Phillip Ng at No. 373 and his brother Robert Ng, at No. 385, with net worths of US$7.2 billion and US$7.1 billion respectively.

Philip Ng and his brother control Far East Organization, Singapore’s largest private landlord and property developer—the company produces one in every six houses sold to the public. Philip oversees the Group’s Singapore interests, while Robert runs their Hong Kong arm, Sino Group.

Far East Organisation was founded by the siblings’ father Ng Teng Fong, who moved from China to Singapore in 1934 and came to be known as “The King of Orchard Road.”

5. Jason Chang

Jason Chang/ Image Credit: Nikkei Asia

Jason Chang, the 79-year-old chairman of Taiwan-based Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE), a provider of independent semiconductor assembling and test manufacturing services, comes in fifth. Jason ranks No. 417 globally, with a net worth of US$6.6 billion.

ASE was founded back in 1984, opening its first factory in Kaohsiung, Taiwan–where it is now based. Its other plants are located in China, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore, with offices and service centres in China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Belgium and the United States

Along with his brother Richard, Jason is also a major investor in Sino Horizon, a commercial real estate developer.

6. Zhang Yong

Zhang Yong/ Image Credit: Forbes

The sixth richest Singaporean and No. 624 on the list is Zhang Yong, the Chinese-born Singaporean business magnate behind the Haidilao restaurant group.

Despite dropping out of high school and lacking a culinary background, the entrepreneur has grown the chain to nearly 1,500 restaurants today. The restaurants are mostly located in China but also in the United States, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore.

Haidilao’s HK$7.6 billion initial public offering in 2018 made Zhang a billionaire, and his net worth is valued at US$4.9 billion today.

7. Jason Jiang

Jason Jiang
Jason Jiang/ Image Credit: Deposit photos

Coming in at No. 871 is Jason Jiang, the founder, chairman and CEO of Alibaba-backed Chinese outdoor advertising firm Focus Media Information Technology, with a net worth of US$3.7 billion.

The firm boasts elevator screens and movie theatre media networks in 300 cities across China, and 70 overseas.

The 51-year-old’s company went public on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange in 2005. However, following negative publicity from a short seller, it was taken private in 2013. In 2016, it went public in Shenzhen through a backdoor listing.

8. Forrest Li

Forrest Li
Forrest Li/ Image Credit: Olympic Council of Asia

The ninth richest Singaporean on this year’s Forbes list is Forrest Li, founder of online gaming and e-commerce firm Sea. With a net worth of US$3.6 billion, Li ranks No. 896 globally.

Li first entered the ranks of Singapore’s richest after listing Sea on the New York Stock Exchange in October 2017. Since its IPO, the firm reported its first-ever quarterly profit of US$423 million in the fourth quarter of 2022.

However, Li’s net worth has steadily declined since its peak of US$12.4 billion in 2021. In 2022, it more than halved to US$5.3 billion, and further declined to US$4.6 billion last year.

9. Kwek Leng Beng

Kwek Leng Beng/ Image Credit: Hong Leong Group

Hotel and property tycoon Kwek Leng Beng is the ninth richest Singaporean to be featured on this year’s Forbes list, ranking No. 949 with a net worth of US$3.4 billion.

He heads the Hong Leong Group, which his father founded, and is the executive chairman of the property and hotel group City Developments Limited. In 2018, the 83-year-old’s son, Sherman Kwek, took charge as City Developments’ group CEO.

Kwek came into prominence in the 1990s after acquiring a string of hotels to found the Millennium & Copthorne chain. In 1995, he and Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal acquired the Plaza Hotel in New York, which was a high-profile acquisition.

10. Choo Chong Ngen and Kuok Khoon Hong

Choo Chong Ngen (pictured left) and Kuok Khoon Hong (pictured right)/ Image Credit: Forbes

Tying at No. 1143 with net worths of US$2.9 billion each are Choo Chong Ngen, the founder and chairman of Worldwide Hotels, and Kuok Khoon Hong, the co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Wilmar International.

Choo made his fortune in textiles before launching his Hotel 81 budget hotel chain in Geylang in 1993. Since then, it has grown into Singapore’s largest budget hotel chain. Hotel 81 is one of six hotel brands in his portfolio, the others being Value Hotel, Venue Hotel, V Hotel, Hotel Boss, and Hotel Mi.

Currently, Worldwide Hotels operates 38 hotels in Singapore, with over 6,500 rooms contributing nearly 10 per cent of the country’s total hotel inventory.

Meanwhile, Kuok cofounded Wilmar in 1991 and built it into one of the world’s largest palm oil producers. The enterprise launched an initial public offering on the Singapore Stock Exchange in 2006 with a capitalisation of S$2.38 billion.

Kuok has long dabbled in the industry prior to starting up Wilmar International. In fact, the 74-year-old had been involved in the grains, edible oils and oilseeds businesses since 1973, playing an integral role in many projects involving the establishment of oil palm plantations across Asia and Africa.

Four Singaporeans made their debut in this year’s list

Wee Ee Cheong, Wee Ee Lim and Wee Ee Chao
From left to right: Wee Ee Cheong, Wee Ee Lim and Wee Ee Chao/ Image Credit: Tatler/ UOB/ Mitigandi

This year’s list also sees four new Singaporean entrants, including the three sons of the late banking tycoon Wee Cho Yaw.

Wee Ee Cheong, 71, ranked No. 1945 with a net worth of US$1.6 billion, while his brothers, Wee Ee Chao and Wee Ee Lim, have a net worth of US$1.3 billion each, tying for No. 2287 on the list.

The fourth newcomer was 67-year-old John Lim, the co-founder and deputy chairman of ARA Asset Management, coming in at No. 2692.

Featured Image Credit: Sea/ Forbes/ Tatler/ Getty/ Zhang Yong via Facebook

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