SINGAPORE (August 29, 2019) – Hot-pot billionaire Zhang Yong, founder of Haidilao International, is now Singapore’s richest with a net worth of US$13.8 billion, replacing real estate siblings Robert and Philip Ng of Far East Organization, the 2019 Forbes Singapore Rich List has revealed.
Zhang, who was featured previously among China’s richest, is now a naturalized Singapore citizen and resident. His company is also increasingly global in its expansion. Also, Haidilao, which got listed in Hong Kong late yesterday, has seen its share price more than doubled since then despite the turbulence in Hong Kong.
Robert and Philip Ng of Far East Organization are now at No. 2 with a combined wealth of $12.1 billion. The Ng family’s fortune continues to benefit from premium prices for its high-end properties, which remain undented by the recent political ructions in Hong Kong or by Singapore’s slowing economy. The Ng brothers had previously occupied the top spot on the Singapore Rich List every year this decade.
The new top 10 richest in Singapore are:
- Zhang Yong; US$13.8 billion
- Robert & Philip Ng; $12.1 billion
- Eduardo Saverin; $10.6 billion
- Goh Cheng Liang; $9.5 billion
- Kwek Leng Beng; $8.8 billion
- Wee Cho Yaw; $6.6 billion
- Khoo family; $6.5 billion
- Kwee brothers; $5.7 billion
- Kuok Khoon Hong; $3 billion
- Choo Chong Ngen; $2.95 billion
A recent Singapore government forecast projects virtually no growth for the island-nation in 2019, citing potential risks such as a deepening slowdown in China, uncertainties in Hong Kong and further afield, the fallout from a no-deal Brexit. Despite these looming headwinds and a stock market that declined 3.5% since the 2018 rich list, the collective wealth of Singapore’s top 50 richest was up more than 12% to $130 billion, mostly due to the inclusion of Zhang Yong on the list this year.
Facebook billionaire and Singapore resident Eduardo Saverin saw his fortune fall by $1.2 billion. He takes the No. 3 spot with a net worth of $10.6 billion. Saverin retains a minority stake in the social media giant, which has been battling investor concerns about user privacy issues. Paint tycoon Goh Cheng Liang (No. 4) saw a billion-dollar boost to his net worth to $9.5 billion, thanks partly to new information about his holdings.
The biggest dollar gainer this year is Kwek Leng Beng (No. 5, $8.8 billion), chairman of Hong Leong Group. The property tycoon added $1.2 billion to his wealth partly on the back of overseas expansion of his flagship City Developments, which acquired two London office properties for $690 million in 2018.
Other notable listees this year include Forrest Li, who makes his mark as this year’s only online gaming billionaire after debuting on the list last year. Li jumps 21 spots to No. 21 as his net worth more than doubled to $1.57 billion from $738 million previously.
More than half of the returnees to the list saw their wealth decline. These include shipping tycoon Chang Yun Chung (No. 22), who suffered a 27% erosion in his wealth to $1.5 billion amid a sluggish shipping sector in the trade-dependent country. At age 101, Chang is the world’s oldest billionaire.
The two newcomers to the list, other than Haidilao’s Zhang, are the Wong brothers of Singapore-based footwear brand Charles & Keith (No. 34, $970 million) and Gang Ye (No. 37, $900 million), who cofounded U.S.-listed Sea and holds just under 9% of the company’s shares.
There are three drop-offs this year, including Ching Chiat Kwong, the former cop-turned-developer, who is also known as the king of shoebox apartments. The debt-fueled expansion of his Oxley Holdings made investors wary, causing its shares to dip.
The minimum amount required to make the list increased marginally to $560 million this year from $535 million previously.
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, including those shared among extended families such as that of Kwek Leng Beng and his cousins. Net worths are based on stock prices and exchange rates as of the close of markets on August 13. Private companies were valued based on similar companies that are publicly traded.