Singapore is famous for its hands-off economic policies and business-friendly environment, so it is no surprise that a handful of the world's billionaires call this tiny Asian nation home. According to a 2019 list by Forbes, the 50 wealthiest people in the country have a combined net worth of $130 billion. These rich Singaporean residents come from an incredibly diverse range of backgrounds, perhaps highlighted by the Brazilian Eduardo Saverin.
1. Zhang Yong - $13.8 Billion Net Worth
Founder of Hong Kong-listed Haidilao International jumped to the top of the list of richest people in Singapore for 2019, with a net worth of almost $14 billion. 49-year old Zhang Yong replaces brothers Robert and Philip Ng, who had achieved the highest rank for eight consecutive years but have fallen into the second-place slot.
- Singapore is home to numerous billionaires from a diverse group of industries.
- Restaurateur Zhang Yong is the wealthiest with a net worth of $13.8 billion.
- Brothers Robert and Philip NG inherited large properties from their father and are the second wealthiest in Singapore.
- Eduardo Saverin, Goh Cheng Liang, and Kwek Leng Beng are also among the top five wealthiest in Singapore for 2019.
Zhang is a naturalized Singapore resident and had previously been listed as one of China's richest individuals. He is the 224th wealthiest in the world. Zhang is a restaurateur. His Haidilao hot pot chains operate mostly in China, but also in South Korea, Singapore, Japan, and the United States. The company went public in Sept. 2018 with almost 500 stores in operation and $17 billion in sales.
2. Robert & Philip Ng - $12.1 Billion Net Worth
Brothers and real estate moguls Robert and Philip Ng inherited a large property and hotel empire from their father, Ng Teng Fong, who moved to Singapore from China in 1934. Philip Ng is the CEO of the Far East Organization (FEO). Meanwhile, Robert Ng is the eldest son and has been chairman of Sino Group since 1991, which is the Hong Kong-based sister company of the FEO. The brothers have a combined net worth of $12.1 billion.
3. Eduardo Saverin - $10.6 Billion Net Worth
Eduardo Saverin, at 38, is Brazilian by birth and received his degree from Harvard University. Saverin is the lesser-known co-founder of Facebook and was Mark Zuckerberg's classmate in 2004. Saverin is probably most noted for renouncing his U.S. citizenship in 2012 before moving to Singapore. He is one of the youngest billionaires in the world and has invested heavily in the burgeoning tech industry in Asia. Much of his wealth is thanks to a 2% ownership stake in Facebook. However, Saverin also launched a venture fund called B Capital, which invests in tech firms with a global approach.
4. Goh Cheng Liang - $9.5 Billion Net Worth
Increased investment in Japanese paints-producer Nippon Paint Holdings launched Goh Cheng Liang into the top five in 2015. He is now in the number four spot with a net worth of $9.5 billion. Goh's set up his first paint store in 1955, and the company it turned into, Wuthelam Holdings, struck a lucrative deal with Nippon in 1962. Hup Jin, Goh's son, is the executive director of Nippon and the private owner of JV Nipsea.
Goh Cheng Liang is relatively unknown and extremely private. He comes from a background of poverty and had to flee to Malaysia during WWII, finally returning home in the 1940s. He started his empire by buying a Chinese dictionary on chemicals and a few barrels of rotten paint from the British army. After some experimentation, Wuthelam Holdings was born.
5. Kwek Leng Beng - $8.8 Billion Net Worth
The fifth wealthiest single individual in Singapore is Kwek Leng Beng, a real estate tycoon. His broader company, Hong Leong Group Singapore, was founded in 1941 by his father, Kwek Hong Png, who left China completely broke as a teenager. Kwek Leng Beng studied to be an attorney in London but subsequently chose to return home after graduating and work in the family business. He is also chairman of Singapore's top property developer, City Developments.