Who are the Richest Billionaires in Singapore Who Made the 2021 Annual Forbes List?
This week, Forbes released their highly-anticipated 35th Annual World’s Billionaires List. In a surprising turn, there was a five trillion-dollar surge in wealth and an addition of 493 new billionaires into the list despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Singapore alone had three new additions, namely David Chen, Shi Xu and Yao Hsiao Tung.
Singapore also has a total of 32 Singaporeans on the list this year.
We take a closer look at these individuals and what it took to get them into this prestigious list.
#75 Zhang Yong
Net Worth: US$23B
China's richest restaurateur and now a naturalised Singapore citizen, Zhang Yong, is the founder of the famous hot pot chain Haidilao. The restaurant opened its doors in China back in 2018; Today, Zhang has 768 Haidilao outlets in China, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and the United States.
Haidilao gained popularity quickly when it was introduced mostly because of the high-quality dishes they served as well as their highly attentive customer service. In fact, the restaurant offers manicures, hair ties, snacks and more for their guests.
Zhang never finished high school and did not actually know how to prepare a typical Sichuan hotpot when he first started out.
Financially, the billionaire was helped out by three friends, one of whom later became his wife, who provided him with the seed money.
#80 Goh Cheng Liang
Net Worth: US$21.7B
Goh Cheng Liang, who is currently 93 years old, founded Nippon Paint Singapore in1955.
Though the company started out small, Goh quickly grew the company such that it became Singapore's first paint manufacturing plant. Today, Nippon Paint Holdings is the world's fourth-largest paint manufacture.
This year, Goh's son, Hup Jin, who chairs Nippon Paint, decided to sell their privately held ventures for US$12 billion in exchange for additional shares in Nippon.
#140 Eduardo Saverin
Net Worth: US$14.6B
In 2004 Eduardo Saverin, who is currently based in Singapore, co-founded Facebook with Mark Zuckerberg. In 2012, the pair parted ways though Saverin continues to retain a small stake in Facebook which provides him with most of his wealth.
In 2016, Saverin launched a venture fund called B Capital with Raj Ganguly. This fund has since managed to raise SGD$766 million and they invest heavily in tech firms around the world.
#158 Robert & Phillip Ng
Net Worth: US$13.3B
Robert and Phillip Ng, who are brothers, run Far East Organisation which is Singapore's largest private landlord and property developer. The company was founded by their father Ng Teng Fong.
Currently, the pair divide their duties between their Hong Kong and Singapore branches.
In 1997, the pair were listed by Forbes as the 30th richest people in the world. Since then, they have continued to remain high on the Forbes list.
Most recently, the pair opened the Fullerton Hotel in Sydney in a 146-year old heritage building back in 2019.
(Related: Roger Federer Ranked By Forbes As World's Highest Paid Athlete Of 2020)
#177 Forrest Li
Net Worth: US$12.4B
Forrest Li, along with David Chen and Gang Ye, other local billionaires, founded and run an online gaming and e-commerce firm called Sea. When Sea was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2017, Li's wealth skyrocketed and put him in the leagues of some of the richest in the world.
Sea's investors include fellow billionaire, Kuok Khoon Hua and private equity firm General Atlantic.
Li is also the founder of popular shopping platform, Shopee and was the person who managed to get Christiano Ronaldo (whom Li is a fan of) to be Shopee's brand ambassador on a number of occasions.
In March this year, Li was named Businessman of the Year at the 35th Singapore Business Awards.
#358 Gang Ye
Net Worth: US$7.1B
Gang Ye is one of the three founders of online gaming and e-commerce firm, Sea. He started out as the group chief technology officer but moved on to assume the role of group chief operating officer in January 2017.
Before Sea, Ye worked at the Economic Development Board of Singapore and Wilmar International.
#384 Wee Cho Yaw
Net Worth: US$6.8B
Wee Cho Yaw is the chairman of United Overseas Bank (UOB) and United Industrial Corporation (UIC) in Singapore.
He also sits on the board of directors in United Chinese Bank which was founded by his father, Wee Kheng Chiang. Wee took over the role as chairman when his father retired in 1974.
Today, UOB is Singapore's largest bank and has over 500 branches and offices in 18 different countries worldwide.
(Related: Singaporean Bankers Laura Hwang And Tan Su Shan Are Empowering Female Leaders In Finance)
#496 Kwee Brothers
Net Worth: US$5.6B
The Kwee brothers, made up of Kwee Liong Keng, Kwee Liong Tek, Kwee Liong Seen and Kwee Liong Phing, are the sons of property developer Henry Kwee. The group oversee the Pontiac Land Group.
Eldest brother Liong Keng is managing director of the group, Liong Tek is chairman, while younger siblings Liong Seen and Liong Phing serve as directors on the board.
The group owns a list of luxury hotels and prestigious office towers. This includes Regent Singapore, Ritz-Carlton Millenia, Conrad Centennial Singapore and The Capella Singapore, which is most famously known for being the site of the historic Trump-Kim summit in 2018.
#502 Shu Ping
Net Worth: US$5.5B
Shu Ping is the co-founder of Haidilao and chief operating officer of Haidilao International Holdings. She is married to Zhang Yong, also a billionaire and co-founder of Haidilao, and the couple lives in Singapore. Most recently, they opened a family office, Sunrise Capital Management, in Singapore to manage their wealth. Shu is the sole shareholder and director of this company.
#665 Takao Yasuda
Net Worth: US$4.3B
Takao Yasuda was the founder of discount retailer Don Quijote in 1980. Today, the company is known as Pan Pacific International Holdings and has about 600 stores.
In 2015, Yasuda stepped down as the CEO and chairman. However, he returned as a board director in 2015.
In 2017, Yasuda opened his first Japanese discount store chain outlet in Singapore in Orchard Central. However, they renamed themselves to Don Don Donki because Singapore already has a restaurant called Don Quijote in Dempsey. The brand currently has 360 stores globally.
#775 Kuok Khoon Hong
Net Worth: US$3.8B
Kuok Khoon Hong is a Malaysian-born Singaporean entrepreneur and philanthropist who co-founded Wilmar International. Wilmar is one of Asia's leading agriculture groups and is also one of the world's largest palm oil traders.
He is the chairman of Perennial Real Estate Holdings Ltd and has set up and funded three schools in Indonesia.
#1008 Kwek Leng Beng
Net Worth: US$3B
Kwek Leng Beng is the executive chairman of Hong Leong Group Singapore. His father was one of the four founders of the Hong Leong Group and though Kwek studied to become a lawyer, he decided to join the family business in the early 1960s.
He later became chairman in 1990 and played a major role in expanding the group into over 300 companies, of which 12 are listed.
Kwek is also a member of the board of trustees of the Singapore Management University.
#1008 Peter Lim
Net Worth: US$3B
Peter Lim is a Singaporean business magnate who is also one of Singapore's leading stockbrokers and private investors, specialising in medicine and palm oil.
In 2019, Forbes ranked him as the 10th richest person in Singapore.
Lim is currently a private investor of Rowsley, Valencia CF, Thomson Medical Group. He is also in the process of redeveloping the Northon Stock Exchange into a boutique hotel.
#1205 Choo Chong Ngen
Net Worth: US$2.6B
Known for being the founder of Hotel 81, a chain of budget-friendly hotels in Singapore, Choo Chong Ngen has achieved success in the hotel industry both locally and on an international stage.
Choo's first venture into real estate investment began when he was only 21. Using a bank loan, he was able to acquire a shophouse unit at that time. In nine years, the tycoon has managed to invest in almost 30 other shop units. He then rented them out and earned his living that way.
In 1992, Choo began working in property development when he built twenty apartment units in Geylang. He later went on to build about a hundred more units around the same area.
Today, Choo manages hotel properties in places such as Malaysia, Korea, Thailand and Australia.
(Related: Hotel 81 Founder Choo Chong Ngen And His CEO Daughter Carolyn Have Lofty Ambitions Of Going Global With Their Company)
#1205 Raj Kumar & Kishin RK
Net Worth: US$2.6B
Kishin RK, son of real estate magnate and Royal Holdings co-founder, Raj Kumar, is considered to be Singapore’s youngest billionaire at 37.
Together with his father, Kishin is one of Singapore's leading landlords. In fact, some of their holdings include The Holiday Inn Express in Clarke Quay and the Intercontinental Hotel at Robertson Quay.
The young entrepreneur is currently in the process of setting up TiffinLabs, which is an online meal delivery firm with cloud kitchens located worldwide.
#1299 Richard Chandler
Net Worth: US$2.4B
Richard Chandler was originally from New Zealand but in 2006, he moved to Singapore where he picked up an interest in investments. Particularly, he is interested in healthcare, financial services and aerospace.
He currently runs Clermont Group, his personal investment outfit.
Chandler has also co-founded Sovereign Global, an investment firm. He also has stakes in an Indian small business loans provider and a healthcare group located in Vietnam.
#1299 David Chen
Net Worth: US$2.4B
David Chen is the co-founder of Singapore-based gaming and e-commerce firm, Sea. The company is best known for its wildly popular mobile game, Free Fire, which is a battle royale game. It was also the most downloaded mobile game globally in 2019.
Chen founded Sea in 2009 with Forrest Li and Gang Ye, who are both billionaires as well.
Currently, Chen is the Chief Product Officer of Shopee, the e-commerce unit of the NYSE-listed company. He has also worked closely with PSA Corp, which is a Temasek-owned port operator as a computer engineer.
(Related: Billionaire James Dyson Sells His 3-Storey Wallich Residence Penthouse)
#1444 Kwek Leng Kee
Net Worth: US$2.2B
Kwek Leng Kee, son of Hong Leong Group's co-founder, Kwek Hong Khai, inherited a stake in Hong Leong Group back in 1990.
Kwek is currently the assistant managing director of Hong Leong Holdings Limited.
#1580 Sam Goi
Net Worth: US$2B
Sam Goi is the son of a Fujian farmer and he owns one of the world' largest makers of popiah skins, Tee Yih Jia Food Manufacturing.
When he was younger, Goi dropped out of school to work in his father's grocery store. He later bought a food unit which sparked his interest in frozen foods.
Today, aside from popiah skins, Goi also has real estate stocks and is Singapore's non-resident ambassador to Brazil.
#1580 Martua Sitorus
Net Worth: US$2B
As the co-founder of Singapore-based company, Wilmar, which is one of the world's largest and most prominent palm oil traders in 1991, Martua Sitorus was once the fourth richest person in Indonesia.
He has since stepped off the board at Wilmar and now owns Gama Corp, a plantation firm, with his brother.
His company has partnered with Ciputra group to build 15 apartment towers and a shopping complex in a project in Jakarta.
#1580 Arvind Tiku
Net Worth: US$2B
Arvind Tiku, who was born in India and currently lives in Singapore, has always been interested in oil and gas as well as renewable energy.
When he was 18, he left India to study mechanical engineering in Russia. He then went on to work as a commodities trader before moving into the oil and gas industry.
Tiku has invested heavily in renewable energy sources in India as well as in solar power projects.
He is currently working on developing a 100-acre township in India.
#1750 Oei Hong Leong
Net Worth: US$1.8B
The son of the now-deceased Indonesian billionaire, Eka Tjipta Widjaja, Oei Hong Leong, is a Singapore citizen and gets his wealth from his illustrious corporate bond portfolio and real estate assets. These properties include the waterfront Plaza of Nations site that he bought in 1989 for CAN$40 million, located in Vancouver.
In 2017, Oei founded a data centre company in Singapore called One Belt One Net. He invested SGD$5 billion into the company.
(Related: Who is Nikhil Kamath? 5 Things to Know About India's Youngest Billionaire)
#1833 Robert Friedland
Net Worth: US$1.7B
Robert Friedland is an American-Canadian billionaire in the mining industry. He started specialising in funding the exploration and development of mineral and energy resources in the 1980s.
Since then, he has gone on to start and chair his private and family-owned firm, Ivanhoe Capital Corporation. He currently operates his company from its corporate headquarters in Singapore.
#1931 Asok Kumar Hiranandani
Net Worth: US$1.6B
Asok Kumar Hiranandani is the co-founder of the Royal Brothers property group. His company, which is currently being run by his son, Bobby, owns properties such as the Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort and the So Softel Hotel in Singapore.
Currently, Hiranandani is in the process of setting up what will be Singapore's second Raffles Hotel in Sentosa. The property is expected to have 61 villas.
#2035 Zhong Sheng Jian
Net Worth: US$1.5B
As the chairman of one of the largest real estate developers in China, Yanlord Land, Zhong is certainly a prominent figure. In fact, his business partners include Ping An Insurance, China Merchants Property Development and Poly Real Estate Group.
In 1988, Zhong moved to Singapore. Currently, his shares are publicly traded in Singapore.
(Related: 5 Youngest Billionaires in Asia, According to Forbes' 2020 Richest List)
#2141 Sukanto Tanoto
Net Worth: US$1.4B
Sukanto Tanoto is the owner of Royal Golden Eagle, a resource-based industrial group that works with paper, palm oil, construction, energy, property and asset management. He started the company over 50 years ago as a small spare parts supply shop called Toko Motor.
Today, Tanoto's group has earmarked US$200 million to create feedstock that is plant-based. He is also developing a clean way to make textiles.
#2263 Shi Xu
Net Worth: US$1.3B
In 1999, Dr Shi Xu and his wife founded Nanofilm Technologies International with US$300,000. 30 years later and Xu has become a billionaire thanks to his company. Most recently, his wife made the news for acquiring an exclusive Good Class Bungalow in Nassim Road.
Nanofilm Technologies International is a company that provides nanotechnology solutions for smartphones and other electronic devices. It started out as a tech start-up from Nanyang Technological University. At that point, Xu was working as an associate professor. When Hitachi reached out wanting to adopt Xu's coating technology for its hard-disk drives, NTU decided to create a company to sell this technology with Xu at the head of it.
Today, Nanofilm has expanded into countries such as Japan, China, Vietnam and Singapore. It has more than 1,400 employees internationally and continues to grow as it works with mega clients such as Fuji Xerox, Microsoft and Huawei Technologies.
(Related: Dwayne Johnson Tops Forbes List of Highest-Paid Hollywood Actors for 2020)
#2263 Ron Sim
Net Worth: US$1.3B
Ron Sim is the founder of Osim International, the company responsible for luxury massage chairs. He also created V3 Group which owns V3 Brands, V3 Capital and V3 Assets. V3 Brands in particular owns luxury brands such as Osim and TWG Tea.
In 2018, Sim donated SGD$3 million to the Singapore Management University’s Business Families Institute to set up the V3 Group Professorship in Family Entrepreneurship.
#2378 Chua Thian Poh
Net Worth: US$1.2B
When he was younger, Chua Thian Poh dropped out of high school and joined the logging industry making hooks and spikes. He later went on to start Ho Bee Land, a property developer which is well-known for building luxury condos in Sentosa.
Since then, the company has expanded to work with commercial property in places such as Munich and London.
Chua's son, Nicholas is currently the deputy CEO of Ho Bee Land.
(Related: Kylie Jenner Has Been Dropped From Forbes’ Billionaires List—Here’s Why)
#2378 Kwek Leng Peck
Net Worth: US$1.2B
Kwek Leng Peck is the executive chairman of Singapore-listed Hong Leong Asia. His company creates and distributes cement and steel products around the world.
Kwek actually inherited a stake in his father's company, Hong Leong Group. His father, Kwek Hong Leong had co-founded the company with the fathers of Kwek's cousins, Kwek Leng Beng and Kwek Leng Kee, who are both also billionaires.
Currently, Kwek has a board seat in the family-owned Hong Leong Finance.
(Related: Haidilao's Billionaire Founder Zhang Yong Tops Forbes Singapore’s Richest List Again in 2020)
#2524 Binny Bansal
Net Worth: US$1.1B
A former Amazon executive, Binny Bansal decided to join forces with a friend, Sachin Bansal, to become an online seller of books. Together, the pair found Flipkart which is currently India's biggest online store for mobile phones, clothing, electronics, home appliances, furniture, grocery, books and more.
In 2018, Walmart bought a 77 per cent stake in Bansal's company. The deal amounted to US$16 billion and was reportedly the world's largest deal for an internet firm.
Today, Binny, who continues to maintain a small stake in Flipkart, mentors startups in Singapore through his firm, Xto1ox Technologies.
#2674 Yao Hsiao Tung
Net Worth: US$1B
In 1983, Yao Hsiao Tung acquired Hi-P International which specialises in insert molding and making metal forming tools. At that point, it was a small company.
Today, Yao has taken the company up to become Singapore's largest manufacturer of smartphones, tablet computers and consumer electronics. His company works with clients such as Apple.
(Related: Top 10 Richest in Asia, According to Forbes World’s Billionaires List 2021)