Billionaire Boys Club: Meet Singapore’s 31 wealthiest men – and 1 woman

From left to right: Founder of Haidilao Zhang Yong, Facebook co founder Eduardo Saverin and founder of Sea Limited Forrest Li. Photos: Forbes, Eduardo Saverin/Facebook, Sea Limited
From left to right: Founder of Haidilao Zhang Yong, Facebook co founder Eduardo Saverin and founder of Sea Limited Forrest Li. Photos: Forbes, Eduardo Saverin/Facebook, Sea Limited

Singapore now accounts for even more of the world’s wealthiest people, all of whom are men apart from the business partner and wife of the island’s wealthiest mogul, according to Forbes.

Of the 2,775 billionaires recorded in Forbes’ 35th annual list of the world’s wealthiest, Singapore accounted for 32, an increase by six new or returning from 2020. Zhang Yong, founder of hot pot empire Haidilao, tops the list of Singaporean billionaires with a net worth of S$31 billion (US$23 billion),  followed by Goh Cheng Liang who holds a majority stake in Japan’s Nippon Paint with S$29 billion (US$21.7 billion). The only woman on the list is Haidilao’s wife Shu Ping, who is Singapore’s ninth wealthiest. 

Newcomers to the list included David Chen, cofounder of online gaming company Sea Ltd.; Shi Xu, founder of Nanofilm Technologies International; and Yao Hsiao Tung, CEO of tool maker firm Hi-P International.

Overall, the list welcomed close to 700 more billionaires than a year ago with 493 new entrants, mostly from China and Hong Kong. Nearly nine in 10 had all grown wealthier in the past year.

The world’s wealthiest woman was Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, granddaughter of L’Oreal’s founder, who ranked No. 12 with US$73.6 billion, followed by American Walmart heir Alice Walton at No. 17 with US$61.8 billion.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos remained the richest man in the world for a fourth consecutive year with a net worth of S$237 billion (US$177 billion) while Tesla Motors’ founder Elon Musk came in second with S$202 billion (US$151 billion).

Here’s the complete list of the 32 Singapore billionaires that made this year’s list.

75 Zhang Yong (Haidilao): US$23B

Haidilao founder Zhang Yong. Photo: Forbes
Haidilao founder Zhang Yong. Photo: Forbes

If you’re a regular at Haidilao, congratulations, you just made restaurateur Zhang Yong the richest man residing in Singapore. The 50-year-old came in at 75th place with a net worth of S$31 billion (US$23 billion), up from 118th place last year with S$15 billion (US$11 billion). The hot pot empire from Sichuan, China went public in 2018.

80 Goh Cheng Liang (Nippon Paint stakeholder): US$21.7B

Goh Cheng Liang, 93, came in at 80th place with a net worth of S$29 billion (US$21.7 billion), up from 129th place with S$13.9 billion (US$10.4 billion) last year. The Singaporean stakeholder who holds a majority stake in Japan’s Nippon Paint Holdings used to make paints in a small factory in Singapore before partnering with them in 1962. His son, Goh Hup Jin, is currently chairman of Nippon Paint. 

140 Eduardo Saverin (cofounder of Facebook): US$14.6B

Cofounder of Facebook Eduardo Saverin. Photo: Eduardo Saverin/Facebook 
Cofounder of Facebook Eduardo Saverin. Photo: Eduardo Saverin/Facebook

Eduardo Saverin, cofounder of Facebook and Harvard classmates with Mark Zuckerberg, is the 141th richest man in the world with a net worth of S$19.6 billion (US$14.6 billion), up from 161th place with S$11.3 billion (US$ 8.4 billion). The 39-year-old became a Singapore citizen in 2012 and has since launched B Capital, a venture capital firm, investing in Southeast Asia and India.

158 Robert and Philip Ng (Far East Organization): US$13.3B 

Brothers Robert and Philip Ng, who runs Singapore’s largest private landlord and property developer Far East Organization, came in at 158th place with a net worth of S$17.8 billion (US$13.3 billion), up from S$14.6 billion (US$10.9 billion). 

Founder and father Ng Teng Fong was known as “The King of Orchard Road” for building malls such as Far East Plaza and Lucky Plaza along the shopping belt. Robert oversees their Hong Kong properties while Philip is in charge of Singapore operations.

177 Forrest Li (Sea Limited): US$12.4B 

Founder of Sea Limited Forrest Li. Photo: Sea Limited 
Founder of Sea Limited Forrest Li. Photo: Sea Limited

The founder of Sea Limited, which is the parent company of online game developer Garena and e-commerce platform Shopee, has a net worth of S$16.6 billion (US$12.4 billion), up from S$2.5 billion (US$1.9 billion). Li became one of Singapore’s richest after listing Sea Limited on the New York Stock Exchange in 2017. He also owns Singapore football club Lion City Sailors FC, which competes in the Singapore Premier League.

358 Gang Ye (cofounder of Sea Limited): US$7.1B

Gang Ye, 40, rose to a net worth of S$9.5 billion (US$7.1 billion), up from S$1.6 billion (US$1.2 billion) last year. He co founded Sea Limited with Forrest Li and has been the group chief operating officer since 2017.

384 Wee Cho Yaw (UOB): US$6.8B 

Chairman emeritus of UOB bank Wee Cho Yaw, 92, came in with a net worth of S$9.1 billion (US$6.8 billion), up from S$6.7 billion (US$5 billion) last year. He stepped down as chairman in 2013 and retired from his role as a director in 2018.

495 Kwee Brothers (Pontiac Land): US$5.6B 

The four Kwee brothers who run Pontiac Land, recovered from a drop in net worth of S$6.7 billion (US$5 billion) last year to S$7.5 billion (US$5.6 billion). The private company owns several luxury hotels like Capella Singapore in Sentosa.

502 Shu Ping (cofounder of Haidilao): US$5.5B

Shu Ping, one of the founders of Haidilao and wife to Singapore’s richest man Zhang Yong, has a net worth of S$7.4 billion (US$5.5 billion), up from S$3.6 billion (US$2.7 billion).

665 Takao Yasuda (Don Quijote/Pan Pacific International Holdings): US$4.3B

Takao Yasuda, founder of Don Quijote Takao Yasuda and Pan Pacific International Holdings, maintained a steady upslope of wealth with a net worth of S$5.8 billion (US$4.3 billion), up from S$3.9 billion (US$2.9 billion) last year and S$3.4 billion (US$2.5 billion) in 2019. If you’ve been shopping at the Don Don Donki chain a lot over the past year, this is where your money probably went. 

775 Kuok Khoon Hong (cofounder of Wilmar): US$3.8B 

The cofounder of Wilmar, one of the world’s largest palm oil producers, has a net worth of S$5.1 billion (US$3.8 billion), up from S$2.8 billion (US$2.1 billion) last year.

1008 Kwek Leng Beng (Hong Leong Group): US$3B

Executive chairman of Hong Leong Group Kwek Leng Beng made the list with a net worth of S$4 billion (US$3 billion), up from S$3.4 billion (US$2.5 billion) last year. The business conglomerate owns South Beach Towers at Beach Road and W Residences Singapore at Sentosa Cove.

1008 Peter Lim: US$3B 

Business tycoon Peter Lim, 67, has a net worth of S$4 billion (US$3 billion), up from S$2.4 (US$1.8 billion) last year. The former stockbroker cashed out on Wilmar stocks a decade ago and has shifted to investing in property, healthcare, and sports.

1205 Choo Chong Ngen (Hotel 81): US$2.6B

The founder of the budget hotel came in with a net worth of S$3.5 billion (US$2.6 billion), up from S$3.4 (US$2.5 billion) last year. The privately held hotel empire has 28 hotels in Singapore as of 2019.

1205 Raj Kumar and Kishin Rk (Royal holdings/RB Capital): US$2.6B

Father-son duo and Singapore’s leading landlords from property empire Royal Holdings and RB Capital maintained their net worth of S$3.5 billion (US$2.6 billion).

1299 Richard Chandler (Clermont Group): US$2.4B 

The New Zealand native and founder of investment firm Clermont Group has a net worth of S$3.2 billion (US$2.4 billion), a drop from S$3.9 (US$2.9 billion) last year. The company’s portfolio includes interests in healthcare, financial services and aerospace.

1299 David Chen (cofounder of Sea Limited): US$2.4B

Another one of the cofounders of online gaming firm Sea Limited entered this year’s list with a net worth of S$3.2 billion (US$2.4 billion). He is best known for the popular battle mobile game Free Fire. 

1444 Kwek Leng Kee (Hong Leong Group): US$2.2B

Son of one of the four brothers who co-founded Hong Leong Group has a net worth of S$2.9 billion (US$2.2 billion), a drop from S$3.2 (US$2.4 billion) last year. He had inherited a stake from his father Kwek Hong Khai, and is cousins with fellow billionaires Kwek Leng Beng and Kwek Leng Peck.

1580 Sam Goi (Tee Yih Jia Food Manufacturing): US$2B

Sam Goi, owner of the world’s largest maker of spring roll skins, has a net worth of S$2.7 billion (US$2 billion), up from S$2.1 (US$1.6 billion).

1580 Martua Sitorus (cofounder of Wilmar): US$2B

Martua Sitorus, co founder of the world’s largest palm oil trader, has a net worth of S$2.7 billion (US$2 billion), up from S$2.4 (US$1.8 billion). He stepped down from the board in 2018.

1580 Arvind Tiku (AT Holdings) US$2B

Arvind Tiku, owner of privately held investment firm AT Holdings, dropped to a net worth of S$2.7 billion (US$2 billion) from S$2.9 billion (US$2.2 billion) last year. He invests in oil and gas, property and renewable energy.

1750 Oei Hong Leong: US$1.8B

Son of late Indonesian billionaire Eka Tjipta Widjaja has a net worth of S$2.4 billion (US$1.8 billion), up from S$1.7 (US$1.3 billion) last year. He mainly reaps his wealth from corporate bonds and real estate.

1833 Robert Friedland (Ivanhoe Mines): US$1.7B

The Singapore-based founder of Ivanhoe Mines, one of the world’s leading mining companies, came in a net worth of S$2.3 billion (US$1.7 billion), up from S$1.3 (US$1 billion).

1931 Asok Kumar Hiranandani (Royal Group Holdings): US$1.6B

The cofounder of Royal Brothers property group, now known as RB Capital, maintained his net worth of S$2.1 billion (US$1.6 billion). He founded Royal Group Holdings that owns the Sofitel chain of hotels and the Raffles hotel in Sentosa.

2035 Zhong Sheng Jian (Yanlord Land): US$1.5B

Chairman of Yanlord Land, one of the biggest privately owned real estate developers in China, has a net worth of S$2 billion (US$1.5 billion), up from S$1.6 (US$1.2 billion).

2141 Sukanto Tanoto (Royal Golden Eagle): US$1.4B

The owner of Royal Golden Eagle, that deals with businesses in pulp and paper, palm oil, and energy, has a net worth of S$1.9 billion (US$1.4 billion).

2263 Shi Xu (Nanofilm Technologies International): US$1.3B

Shi Xu, who founded Nanofilm Technologies International, entered the list with a net worth of S$1.7 billion (US$1.3 billion). The technology firm produces coating materials and nanotechnology-based solutions used in electronic devices.

2263 Ron Sim (OSIM International): US$1.3B

The founder of OSIM International, Singaporean manufacturer of luxury massage chairs, came in a net worth of S$1.7 (US$1.3 billion), up from S$1.6 (US$1.2 billion).

2378 Chua Thian Poh (Ho Bee Land): US$1.2B

The founder of luxury property developer Ho Bee Land has a net worth of S$1.6 (US$1.2 billion), up from S$1.5 (US$1.1 billion). The property builts several high end condos like The Coast and Cape Royale at Sentosa Cove.

2378 Kwek Leng Peck (Hong Leong Asia): US$1.2B

The executive chairman of Hong Leong Asia, which manufactures and distributes diesel engines and related products, recorded a drop in net worth from S$1.7 billion (US$1.3 billion) to S$1.6 (US$1.2 billion). 

2524 Binny Bansal (Flipkart): US$1.1B

The founder of online retail platform Flipkart maintained his net worth of S$1.5 billion (US$1.1 billion). He was previously a former Amazon executive who quit a few months after in 2017.

2674 Yao Hsiao Tung (Hi-P International): US$1B

Yao Hsiao Tung, who acquired tool maker firm Hi-P International in 1983, just made the mark and entered the list with a net worth of S$1.3 billion (US$1 billion). The firm is one of Singapore’s largest manufacturers of electronic devices with customers such as Apple.

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