Singapore is often acclaimed as one of the richest countries in the world. In fact, it was reported in by Credit Suisse Research Institute Global Wealth Report that Singapore had 184,000 millionaires (in US dollar terms) in 2018, an 11% increase from the year before.
In March, the Forbes released it Billionaires report, listing 2,153 billionaires in the world. Singapore had 22 representatives on this list. We look at the top 10 richest people in Singapore, and how they amassed their wealth.
Singapore Rank: 10
World Rank: 916
Net Worth: US$2.5 billion
Sector: Stock Broking
According to the Forbes Billionaires list, Peter Lim is the 10th richest person in Singapore, with a net worth of US$2.5 billion. This also puts him as the 916th richest person in the world.
Known as the “Remisier King”, Mr Lim made his fortune through his stock broking networks, managing high net worth clients, and subsequently making investments in the stock markets himself. He most popularly known for his investments into Wilmar, and more recently into properties, healthcare and sports.
Today, Mr Lim has a 45.4% interest in SGX-listed Thomson Medical Group, as well as redeveloping properties in Manchester and with stakes in Spanish football club Valencia and English football club Salford City – which is also owned by former Manchester United greats David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt.
Singapore Rank: 9
World Rank: 916
Net Worth: US$2.5 billion
Jason Chang is the 9th richest person in Singapore, with a net worth of US$2.5 billion. This puts him on joint spot with Peter Lim and also ranked at 916th richest person in the world.
Singaporeans may be less familiar with Mr Chang, who is chairman of Taiwan-based Advanced Semiconductor Engineering. His Advanced Semiconductor Engineering, which he founded with his brother in in 1984, is the world’s largest provider of independent semiconductor assembling and testing manufacturing services.
Along with his brother, Richard Chang, who is himself a billionaire with a net worth of US$1 billion, he initially moved to Taiwan from Shanghai. After achieving some success in the real estate space, they moved into the technology space.
Today, the two brothers also control Taiwan-listed real estate developer Sino Horizon Holdings.
Choo Chong Ngen
Singapore Rank: 8
World Rank: 877
Net Worth: US$2.6 billion
Most popularly known for his chain of budget hotels in Singapore, Hotel 81, Choo Chong Ngen is listed at the 8th richest person in Singapore with a net worth of US$2.6 billion. He ranks 877th globally.
He initially started out in the textile business, and gradually expanded into purchase and then developing properties in Geylang. After his early success the red-light district, he opened Hotel 81, and has since diversified into the mid-tier market hotels, as well as into Thailand, Malaysia and Australia.
Raj Kumar & Kishin RK
Raj Kumar (left) and Kishin RK (right), Source: Forbes
Singapore Rank: 7
World Rank: 804
Net Worth: US$2.8 billion
Sector: Real Estate
Raj Kumar is one of Singapore’s leading landlords with their Royal Holdings/RB Capital property empire. He started out in the property business with his brother Ashok Kumar Hiranandani, who is also listed as a billionaire with a net worth of US$1.7 billion. In 2011, the two brothers split their property empire.
Together with his son Kishin RK, their prize holdings include 442-room Holiday Inn Express at Clarke Quay and the five-start Hotel Intercontinental in Robertson Quay.
Kwek Leng Beng
Singapore Rank: 6
World Rank: 745
Net Worth: US$3.0 billion
Sector: Real Estate
Kwek Leng Beng is the executive chairman of Singapore-listed Hong Leong Group, founded by his father in 1941. He is also the executive chairman of City Development, the second largest property developer in Singapore.
His Hong Leong Group is one of Asia’s largest and most successful conglomerates with gross assets worth over $40 billion. The group has businesses in the property development, hotels, financial services and trade and industry.
In addition, Mr Kwek also chairs Millennium & Copthorne Hotel, a London-listed hotel group which is 53% owned by City Developments.
Pictured: Kwee Liong Tek (Source: Forbes)
Singapore Rank: 5
World Rank: 311
Net Worth: US$5.6 billion
Sector: Real Estate
Founded by their Indonesian father, Pontiac Land is controlled by the four Kwee siblings today. They own luxury hotels in Singapore, Sydney and Maldives, prime commercial buildings across Singapore, as well as having developed premium residential buildings.
In New York, the brothers are building an 82-story tower beside the Museum of Modern Art, where penthouses cost more than $70 million. They have also gone into a joint venture to build a hotel in the U.S. In addition, they acquired the Cappella Hotel group in 2017.
Wee Cho Yaw
Singapore Rank: 4
World Rank: 267
Net Worth: US$6.1 billion
Even at age 90, Wee Cho Yaw is not the oldest billionaire in Singapore. Regardless, he is one of the most prominent businessmen in Singapore. In 2018, he stepped down as a director of United Overseas Bank, a position he has held for sixty years. He continues to serve as Chairman Emeritus of the bank.
In addition to his bank, the family also has property investments, including, amongst many others, 45 apartments at The Nassim which was acquired for $290 million.
Singapore Rank: 3
World Rank: 224
Net Worth: US$6.8 billion
While not many in Singapore may be familiar with his name yet, his hot-pot restaurant chain, Haidilao, is far more prolific.
Going public in 2018, Haidilao International Holdings is most well-known for its spicy dishes and attentive customer service. The restaurant chain raked in US$10.4 billion in sales from 370 restaurants based mostly in China, as well as U.S., Japan, South Korea and Singapore.
Zhang Yong’s wife, Shu Ping, who was also one of his co-founders, is also listed on the Billionaires list with a net worth of US$1.8 billion.
Goh Cheng Liang
Singapore Rank: 2
World Rank: 203
Net Worth: US$7.2 billion
The bulk of Goh Cheng Liang’s wealth is derived from his 39% stake in Japan’s Nippon Paint Holdings, the fourth largest paint manufacturer in the world.
Mr Goh began his entrepreneurship journey making paints in a small factory in Singapore, before seeking advice from Nippon Paint on how to sell paints in Singapore back in 1962. Fast-forward to today, his company, Wuthelam owns 39% of Nippon Paint.
Today, Wuthelam is invested in property, electronics and trading amongst other businesses.
Robert & Phillip Ng
Singapore Rank: 1
World Rank: 112
Net Worth: US$12.0 billion
Sector: Real Estate
Mainstays as Singapore’s richest in recent times, the brothers control Far East Organisation, Singapore’s largest private landlord and property developer. The group has businesses in residential, commercial, industrial, medical, hotels and shopping mall properties. In addition, it also has businesses in food & beverage and self-storage.
Initially founded by their father, Ng Teng Fong, the group, Hong Kong arm is overseen by older brother Robert, while Phillip oversees its Singapore interests.
The Richest In Singapore
There are some interesting observations when it comes to Singapore’s richest. At first glance, we can see that many of them derived their fortunes through real estate. Property is also something very close to the hearts of Singaporeans, but seemingly unattainable because the rich owns most of it.
Should this trend continue, it may mean a lack of creativity and business acumen to create new businesses.
At least two of the others in the top 10 rich list, have also made significant inroads into property investments. This includes Wee Cho Yaw and Peter Lim.
Another interesting, and similarly unsurprising, trend is that there are no women in the top richest in Singapore. In fact, of the 22 billionaires featured by Forbes, there was one woman – Shu Ping, the wife of Zhang Yong, 2nd on the list.
What was also interesting was the inclusion of Zhang Yong and Shu Ping as well as Jason Chang and several others. These billionaires are not Singapore-born and in some instances, do not live in Singapore either, but are nonetheless listed as Singapore billionaires.
In the same fashion, there were several notable absentees, including Eduardo Saverin (net worth of US$9.7 billion), co-founder of Facebook, and Richard Chandler (US$3.1 billion), a fund manager from New Zealand. They were previously listed as Singapore billionaires, but were not in this edition.
Eduardo Saverin was listed as Brazilian, even though his residence status continues to be listed as Singapore. Similarly, Richard Chandler was listed under New Zealand, even though his residence status is also listed as Singapore.
|No.||Individual/ Family||Net Worth||Sector|
|1||Robert & Phillip Ng||US$12.0 billion||Real Estate|
|2||Goh Cheng Liang||US$7.2 billion||Paints|
|3||Zhang Yong||US$6.8 billion||Restaurants|
|4||Wee Cho Yaw||US$6.1 billion||Banking|
|5||Kwee Brothers||US$5.6 billion||Real Estate|
|6||Kwek Leng Beng||US$3.0 billion||Real Estate|
|7||Raj Kumar & Kishin RK||US$2.8 billion||Real Estate|
|8||Choo Chong Ngen||US$2.6 billion||Hotels|
|9||Jason Chang||US$2.5 billion||Electronics|
|10||Peter Lim||US$2.5 billion||Stock Broking|
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