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Wealth of Singapore's 50 richest on Forbes list falls by over 20%

Composite showing (from left) Li Xiting, Robert Ng, Philip Ng, who are all on the Forbes list of Singapore's 50 richest.
From left: Li Xiting, Robert Ng, Philip Ng, who are all on the Forbes list of Singapore's 50 richest. (PHOTO: Mindray Facebook, Reuters, Facebook)

SINGAPORE — While Singapore continued to attract wealthy foreigners, rising inflation and the global tech rout took a toll on the combined wealth of tycoons on the 2022 Forbes' list of Singapore's 50 richest.

Their collective wealth fell by more than 20 per cent to US$164 billion in 2022 from US$208 billion in 2021.

The pecking order of the top five reflects post-pandemic realities, Forbes said.

Holding on to the No. 1 spot is Li Xiting, founder and chairman of Shenzhen Mindray Bio-Medical Electronics, though his wealth shrank by nearly a third to US$15.6 billion. Shares of his medical device maker dropped on slower sales growth.

In second place are Robert and Philip Ng who control Far East Organization, Singapore's largest private landlord and property developer. The property sector's continued recovery and new information on their real estate holdings propelled the Ng brothers to second place with US$15.2 billion, up from US$14.2 billion last year.

The fortune of 95-year-old paints tycoon Goh Cheng Liang, who controls Japan's Nippon Paint Holdings, is down 30 per cent to US$13 billion, though he remains at No. 3.

The tech sell-off more than halved the net worth of Facebook (since renamed Meta Platforms) co-founder Eduardo Saverin to US$9.6 billion, and he slipped two places to No. 4. Rounding out the top five with US$9.3 billion is executive chairman of City Developments Limited, Kwek Leng Beng, up from US$8.5 billion last year.

New York-listed gaming firm Sea, last year's red-hot stock, plunged on increasing losses in its e-commerce arm, eroding the wealth of its three co-founders Forrest Li (No. 11, US$4.2 billion), Gang Ye (No. 13, US$2.8 billion) and David Chen (No. 48, US$745 million) by more than 70 per cent each — the biggest drop in percentage terms.

Newcomers to Forbes list

These steep declines far outweighed the net worth rise recorded by more than half the listees. Notable in this group is Min-Liang Tan (No. 43, US$995 million), founder of Razer, who benefited from taking his gaming devices firm private. The hospitality sector recovery brought hotelier Michael Kum (No. 41, US$1.02 billion) of M&L Hospitality back into the ranks after a year's gap.

There are two newcomers this year, both with international roots. The richest entrant is Indonesia-born Leo Koguan (No. 7, US$7.6 billion), cofounder and chairman of IT provider SHI International, who revealed last year that he was the third-largest individual shareholder in Tesla and is now an American citizen residing in Singapore.

The second newcomer is France-born Laurent Junique (No. 47, US$825 million), founder of Singapore-based call centre and business process outsourcing firm TDCX, which listed last October on the New York Stock Exchange.

Who was dropped?

Three from last year dropped off, including Changpeng Zhao, founder of crypto exchange Binance, who was included among Singapore's richest last year but has since moved to Dubai.

Another high-profile absentee is Anthony Tan, co-founder of Grab Holdings, who made his debut on the list in 2021. Tan dropped out after Grab's shares tumbled amid continuing losses since their debut on Nasdaq in December 2021.

Former college professor Shi Xu, who made his debut on the list last year after the October 2020 IPO of his NanoFilm Technologies made him a billionaire, is at No. 50 with US$705 million.

The minimum net worth to make the list was US$705 million, down from US$735 million last year.

The top 10 richest in Singapore are:

  1. Li Xiting; US$15.6 billion

  2. Robert & Philip Ng; US$15.2 billion

  3. Goh Cheng Liang; US$13 billion

  4. Eduardo Saverin; US$9.6 billion

  5. Kwek Leng Beng; US$9.3 billion

  6. Zhang Yong & Shu Ping; US$7.7 billion

  7. Leo Koguan; US$7.6 billion

  8. Khoo family; US$6.9 billion

  9. Wee Cho Yaw; US$6.8 billion

  10. Kwee brothers; US$5.8 billion

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