22 Singaporeans make Forbes’ 2019 richest list

A total of 22 Singaporeans made it to Forbes' latest list of the world's richest, with real estate barons Robert and Philip Ng coming up tops among their countrymen for the 10th year running.

The sons of the late tycoon Ng Teng Fong, who control Far East Organization, Singapore's largest private landlord and property developer, are joint 112th on the Forbes list, with a combined US$12 billion (S$16 billion) fortune, said the business magazine.

Second among the uber-rich Singaporeans in the ranking is paint tycoon Goh Cheng Liang, whose wealth comes largely from a 39 per cent stake in Japan's Nippon Paint Holdings. He was ranked at No. 203, with a net wealth of US$7.2 billion.

Coming in third among Singaporeans is Mr Zhang Yong, the founder of popular Sichuan-style hotpot chain Haidilao.

Mr Zhang, who was No. 13 on China's rich list last year, takes 224th place in the global ranking with a net worth of US$6.8 billion.

His wife and Haidilao co-founder Shu Ping, also made it to the list. She is the 14th richest in Singapore and No. 1,281 globally with a fortune of US$1.8 billion.

The company, which went public last September, has US$10.4 billion in sales from more than 300 restaurants in China, the US, Japan, South Korea, as well as Singapore.

United Overseas Bank chairman emeritus Wee Cho Yaw placed 267th globally with US$6.1 billion, the Kwee brothers are at 311th with US$5.6 billion and Valencia football club owner Peter Lim at 916th with US$2.5 billion.

For only the second year in a decade, both the number of billionaires and their total wealth shrank, proving that even the wealthiest are not immune to economic forces and weak stock markets, said Forbes.

By its latest count, there are 2,153 billionaires in the world, 55 fewer than a year ago.

Of those, a record 994, or 46 per cent, are poorer (relatively speaking) than they were last year. In total, the ultra-rich are worth US$8.7 trillion, down US$400 billion from last year.

Altogether, 11 per cent of last year's list members, or 247 people, dropped out of the ranks - the most since 2009 at the height of the global financial crisis.

The Asia-Pacific was hardest hit, with 60 fewer billionaires, led by China, which lost 49.

The Americas, driven by a resurgent Brazil, and the US are the only two regions that have more billionaires than they did a year ago, said Forbes. The US boasts a record 607, including 14 of the world's 20 richest.

Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos remains the world's richest person, ahead of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and US billionaire investor Warren Buffett. - THE STRAITS TIMES