SINGAPORE/NEW YORK — There are currently 21 people in Singapore’s billionaires club, it was revealed in the Forbes magazine list of the world’s richest billionaires released on Monday (March 20).
Topping Singapore’s list again are property magnates Robert and Philip Ng, the brothers who own hotel and mall conglomerate Far East Organisation and Sino Land. Their net worth of US$8.7 billion puts them as the 150th richest in the world – four places better than last year.
In second place is paints tycoon Goh Cheng Liang, who owns a 39 per cent stake in Japan’s Nippon Paint. The 89-year-old added US$1.5 million to his wealth to lock in a US$6.5 billion net worth, moving up 54 places to become the world’s 219th richest.
The Kwee family, who is behind Pontiac Land Group, is now the Republic’s third wealthiest with a net worth of US$5.1 billion. The four siblings — Kwee Liong Keng, Kwee Liong Tek, Kwee Liong Seen and Kwee Liong Phing — are known for their portfolio of posh hotels in Singapore such as The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia, and Conrad Centennial. They are placed 316th in the world.
In world rankings, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates once again tops the list, while US President Donald Trump slips more than 200 spots.
Mr Gates, whose wealth is estimated at US$86 billion, leads the list for the fourth straight year.
He is followed by Berkshire Hathaway chief Warren Buffett among the top 10 billionaires, a group heavily dominated by Americans. Mr Buffett’s wealth is estimated at US$75.6 billion.
Others in the top 10 include Amazon founder Jeff Bezos at number three, Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg at number five and Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison at number seven.
The global billionaire population jumped 13 per cent from last year to 2,043, the biggest annual increase in the 31 years since the magazine began compiling the list, Forbes said.
The US leads countries with the most billionaires with 565, a product of the swelling value of the American stock market since Mr Trump’s November 2016 election.
China is second with 319 billionaires, and Germany is third with 114.
Mr Trump fell 220 spots to number 544 on the list with an estimated fortune of US$3.5 billion. Forbes attributed Mr Trump’s drop to sluggishness in the Manhattan real estate market which is responsible for a disproportionate amount of his wealth.
“Forty per cent of Donald Trump’s fortune is tied up in Trump Tower and eight buildings within one mile of it,” Forbes said. “Lately, the neighbourhood has been struggling (relatively speaking).”
Among others in the Forbes top 10, Amancio Ortega of Spanish apparel chain Zara is fourth, Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim is sixth, the Koch brothers — Charles and David — are eighth and ninth respectively.
Former New York City mayor and Bloomberg News founder Michael Bloomberg is 10th. WITH AFP
Below is Forbe’s list of Singapore billionaires:
1. Robert and Philip Ng (150th): US$8.7 billion (real estate)
2. Goh Cheng Liang (219th): US6.5 billion (paints)
3. Kwee family (315th): US$5.1 billion (real estate)
4. Wee Cho Yaw (324th): US$5 billion (banking)
5. Zhao Tao (359th): US$4.6 billion (phamaceuticals)
6. Jason Chang (693rd): US$2.9 billion (electronics)
7. Kwek Leng Beng (745th): US$2.7 billion (real estate)
8. Raj Kumar & Kishin RK (867th): US2.4 billion (real estate)
9. Kuok Khoon Hong (867th): US$2.4 billion (palm oil)
10. Sam Goi (973rd): US$2.1 billion (frozen foods)
11. Peter Lim (973rd): US$2.1 billion (investments)
12. Ong Beng Seng and Christina Ong (973rd): US$2.1 billion (diversified)
13. Choo Chong Ngen (1,098th): US$1.9 billion (hotels)
14. Chang Yun Chung (1,234th): US$1.7 billion (shipping)
15. Lim Oon Kuin (1,234th): US$1.7 billion (oil trading)
16. Zhong Sheng Jian (1,376th): US$1.5 billion (real estate)
17. Chua Thian Poh (1,468th): US$1.4 billion (real estate)
18. Asok Kumar Hiranandani (1,678th): US$1.2 billion (real estate)
19. Oei Hong Leong (1,678th): US$1.2 billion (investments)
20. Koh Wee Meng (1,795th): US$1.1 billion (real estate, hotels)
21. Ron Sim (1,795th): US$1.1 billion (retail)