Singapore’s 50 richest saw their wealth surge in the past year to reach S$180 billion – and it’s thanks to these 3 guys

These three men are largely responsible for the huge wealth boost the top 50 richest people in Singapore had this year.
The Straits Times, Reuters, Lianhe Zaobao

The global economy may not look so good at the moment, but it’s no reason to stop Singapore’s richest from becoming even richer.

According to Forbes’ latest report published on Thursday (August 29), the top 50 richest people in Singapore are 12 per cent richer than they were last year, with a total combined wealth of US$130 billion (S$180 billion).

This is despite the fact that more than half of the returnees to the annual Forbes list had actually saw their wealths decline.

The youngest person on the list, Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, was US$1.2 billion richer in July last year. He remains Singapore’s third richest man though, with a net worth of US$10.6 billion.

Meanwhile, the oldest person on the list, shipping tycoon Chang Yun Chung (#22), saw his wealth fall 27 per cent to US$1.5 billion. The 101-year-old is also the world’s oldest billionaire.

Three people on last year’s list were not included on the 2019 list, including “shoebox king” Ching Chiat Kwong, who is executive chairman and CEO of property group Oxley Holdings.

So who is responsible for the wealth surge, you ask?

Apparently, these three men are responsible for giving the top 50 list a huge wealth boost.

Zhang Yong, worth US$13.8 billion

#1 on Forbes’ list

As the founder of the world’s largest hotpot chain, Zhang is a naturalised Singapore citizen who previously featured on the China list.

The 49-year-old’s owner of Haidilao had in March been listed on the Forbes Billionaires list with a net worth of US$6.8 billion.

A Sichuan native, Zhang has set his hotpot chain on a path of global expansion – and it’s paying off.

With his massive wealth, Zhang pushed Robert and Phillip Ng, the brothers behind Far East Organisation, to number two with a wealth of US$12.1 billion. Previously, the Ng brothers had topped the list every single year this decade.

Zhang Yong with his wife Shu Ping, co-founder and non-executive director of Haidilao.

Kwek Leng Beng, worth US$8.8 billion

#5 on Forbes’ list

Among returnees to the list, Hong Leong Group chairman Kwek Leng Beng added the most to his wealth in the past year.

Forbes estimates that the 78-year-old is now US$1.2 billion richer than he was last year, thanks to the overseas expansion of his property group City Developments.

Kwek is also the chairman of the London-listed Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (M&C) which owns 128 international properties.
The Straits Times

 Goh Cheng Liang, worth US$9.5 billion

#4 on Forbes’ list

The 98-year-old paint tycoon also saw his wealth increase by around a billion dollars in the past year, Forbes said.

According to the magazine, Goh has a 39 per cent stake in Japan’s Nippon Paint Holdings, the fourth largest paint manufacturer in the world.

In April 2019, Nippon Paint agreed to acquire DuluxGroup, Australia’s largest paint manufacturer, for US$2.7 billion.

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Lianhe Zaobao

These are the top 10 richest people on Singapore in 2019, according to Forbes:

#1 Zhang Yong, US$13.8 billion

#2 Robert & Phillip Ng, US$12.1 billion

#3 Eduardo Saverin, US$10.6 billion

#4 Goh Cheng Liang, US$9.5 billion

#5 Kwek Leng Beng, US$8.8 billion

#6 Wee Cho Yaw, US$6.6 billion

#7 Khoo family, US$6.5 billion

#8 Kwee brothers, US$5.7 billion

#9 Kuok Khoon Hong, US$3 billion

#10 Choo Chong Ngen, US$2.95 billion

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