22 Singaporeans Make it to Forbes’ 2019 Dollar Billionaires List
On March 5, 2019 (Tuesday) Forbes released its annual list of billionaires that featured 2,153 individuals, a decline of 55 from last year’s number. 2019 was not particularly a good year for the elite rich as their collective wealth took a dive of about $400 billion from last year’s $9.1 billion. Nearly 247 people were relegated from the billionaires’ list this year with China taking the biggest hit. Singapore however, saw 22 of its citizens feature in the list with billionaire brothers Robert Ng and Philip leading the pack at position 112 globally. The two seasoned real estate moguls control a vast empire of $12 billion inherited from Ng Teng Fong, their father and a legendary property developer himself. A majority of the Ng family wealth is held in Singapore’s largest real estate company, the Far East Organization.
At a whopping $7.2 billion is Goh Cheng Liang, 91 years old and founder of Wuthelam Holdings- a manufacturer of paint and coatings. Liang ranks at position 203 globally and second richest nationally behind the Ng brothers although he easily dwarfs the brothers’ wealth. Liang’s company has an interest in the Japan-based Nippon Paint Holdings. Nippon Paint Holdings is the biggest manufacturer of paint and paint products in Asia. The company operates in over 16 countries globally including India and China and has approximately 21,000 employees. Reportedly, Goh’s ginormous fortune is largely a factor of his 39% stake in Nippon Paint held through his Nipsea International- a 100% owned subsidiary of Wuthelam Holdings.
Dubbed “China’s richest restaurateur,” Zhang Yong 48 years old comes in at position 224 with a net worth of $6.8 billion. Zhang together with his wife Shu Ping co-founded the Haidilao International holding Ltd popular for its Hai Di Lao chain of hot pot restaurants. The couple has a combined wealth of $8.6 billion. Zhang is among the 195 newcomers that made it to the 2019 billionaires list alongside Pinduoduo’s Colin Huang, Daniel Ek (Spotify) and Adam Bowen among others. Zhang’s chain of restaurants operates in close to 400 locations globally across China, Singapore, U.S., South Korea, and Japan among others. According to Forbes, the chain of restaurants wrecked in over $10.4 billion in annual sales. Aside from his Chinese roots, Zhang and his wife are Singapore nationals.
United Overseas Bank (UOB) heir, Wee Cho Yaw, 90 is the fourth richest Singaporean and position 267 globally. Wee who stepped down as UOB’s chairman back in 2013 after a 60-year reign has an estimated net worth of $6.1 billion. In April 2018, Wee retired from UOB board. The bank is currently led by Wee’s son Wee Ee Chong as CEO. The bank was co-founded by Wee’s father in 1935 and has grown over the years to become Singapore’s 3rd largest bank. Aside from banking, the family also has an interest in property development through Kheng Leong. Wee family owns Haw Par- the company that manufactures the popular Tiger Balm Chinese ointment.
The Kwee family (brothers) and owners of the Pontiac Land Group are the fifth richest Singaporeans ranking at position 311 worldwide. The family has a net worth of $5.6 billion from the chains of high-end hotels and luxurious office towers including Regent Singapore, Conrad continental, Ritz-Carlton Millenia, and the famous Capella Singapore that hosted U.S. President Trump and Kim Jong Un’s 2018 summit.
At the 6th and 745th position nationally and globally respectively, veteran entrepreneur and philanthropist Kwek Leng Beng control an estimated wealth of $3 billion. Kwek is the long-serving executive chairman of Hong Leong Group, a conglomerate of prestigious hotels, high-end properties and interest in the finance and trade industry. Through City Development Limited (CDL), Hong Leong Group controls over 150 hotels in about 20 countries globally. Kwek is the recipient of multiple accolades for his shrewd business acumen.
Ranking nationally after Kwek are father and son Raj Kumar and Kishin RK of the Royal Holdings/ RB Capital Group. The duo boasts a hefty net worth of $2.8 billion putting them at position 804 globally. Among the vast properties owned by the two include Clark Quay’s Holiday Inn Express and intercontinental Singapore Robertson Quay.
Other Singaporean billionaires ranked in the 2019 Forbes’ list include;
- Hotel tycoon, Choo Chong Ngen, ranks at position eight nationally and 877 globally. The Hotelier has a net worth of $2.6 billion.
- At positions 9 and 916 is Taiwanese/ Singaporean Magnate and chairman of Taiwan-based Advanced semiconductor Engineer Jason Chang. Chang has an estimated net worth of $2.5 billion.
- Peter Lim, serial investor and philanthropist ties with Chang at position 916 with an estimated net worth of $2.5 billion.
- Kuok Khoon Hong, Co-founder, Chairman, and CEO of Wilmar International ranks at 962, with a net worth of $2.4 billion. Mr. Hong’s company is the “World’s largest palm oil trader. Hong has also ventured in property development through Perennial Real Estate Holdings Ltd.
- Chang Yun Chung, perhaps the oldest billionaire in Singapore is worth $2.1 billion and ranks at position 1,116 globally. Chung started the Pacific International Line with only 2-second hand ships and grew the company to over 150 vessels as of 2017.
- Sam Goi, Chairman of Tee Yih Jia Foods, is worth a stunning $1.9 billion. Goi, the proclaimed “Popiah King” is position 1,227 globally.
- Shu Ping, wife to Zhang Yong, with an estimated net worth of $1.8 billion is the 1,281st richest person in the world.
- Asok Kumar Hiranandani, the co-founder of the erstwhile Royal Brothers Property group, is worth $1.7 billion after dividing their vast empire with brother Raj Kumar back in 2017. He’s the 1,349th richest person in the world.
- Lim Oon Kuin of the Hin Leong Trading worth $1.7 billion and is the 1,349th richest person in the world.
- Zhong Sheng Jian of the Yanlord Land is worth $1.6 billion becoming the 1,425th richest person in the world.
- Chua Thian Poh of the Ho Bee Land is worth $1.5 billion making him the 1,511th richest person in the world.
- Oei Hong Leong, legendary investor is worth $1.5 billion. Ties with Poh at position 1,511 globally.
- Ron Sim of the Osim international is worth $1.4 billion and is the 1,605th richest person globally.
- Zhao Tao of the Shandong Buchang Pharmaceuticals ties with Ron Sim at $1.4 billion and position 1,606 globally.
- Koh Wee Meng of the Fragrance Group closes Singapore’s list of dollar billionaires with a net worth of $1.2 billion and ranks at position 1,818 globally.