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Singapore’s richest tycoons prosper amid economic headwinds, Forbes reveals

Amid a slowing economy, Singapore’s tycoons thrived as their combined wealth rose by 8% to US$177 billion in 2023, reveals Forbes. Eduardo Saverin of Meta Platforms leads the list with US$16 billion.

Notable entrants include Fosun International’s Liang Xinjun and JOYY’s David Xueling Li. The minimum net worth for entry rose to US$750 million.



Amid a decelerating economy, Singapore’s top magnates haven’t merely weathered the storm but have thrived. Forbes’ 2023 list of Singapore’s 50 Richest has charted an 8% growth in the collective wealth of these tycoons, reaching US$177 billion, up from the previous year’s US$164 billion.

The Brazilian expat and Meta Platforms co-founder, Eduardo Saverin, who has called the Lion City his home for over a decade, emerges as the crown jewel this year.

With a staggering net worth of US$16 billion, he witnesses the most significant gain in dollar value this year, amassing an extra US$6.4 billion, paralleling Meta’s stock surge of nearly 70%.

The Ng siblings, Robert and Philip, champions of the Far East Organization, continue to secure the second spot, albeit with a slight dip in fortune to US$14.8 billion.

After reigning supreme for two consecutive years, Li Xiting of Shenzhen Mindray Bio-Medical Electronics was nudged to the third position, as China’s crackdown on the pharmaceutical sector impacted healthcare stocks. His fortune saw a decrease to US$14 billion.

Japan’s Nippon Paint Holdings magnate, Goh Cheng Liang, and real estate titan, Kwek Leng Beng, maintain the fourth and fifth spots respectively.

Kwek, post-pandemic, has set his eyes on global landmarks, exemplified by his acquisition of London’s iconic St Katharine Docks for a whopping US$500 million in March.

This year, over half of the list witnessed an uptick in their net worth, with six tycoons augmenting their coffers by more than US$1 billion each.

Standouts include the banking powerhouses: the Lee family of OCBC, and the Lien lineage with stakes in United Overseas Bank, both recording spectacular growth percentages.

Adding fresh dynamism to the list are three newcomers, two hailing from China. Fosun International’s co-founder, Liang Xinjun, now helming XIN Family in Singapore, debuts with US$2.15 billion. David Xueling Li, the brain behind Nasdaq-listed JOYY, secures the 47th spot. Singapore’s very own Lim Kaling, an early bird investor in Razer, shares the honour with the company’s pioneer, Min-Liang Tan.

However, fortunes can be fleeting. David Chen of Sea is among the three who faded from the list, following a stock tumble post lukewarm Q2 results.

To even consider an entry this year, one would need a net worth of at least US$750 million, a slight elevation from last year’s US$705 million.

The elite top 10 include:

  1. Eduardo Saverin – US$16 billion
  2. Robert & Philip Ng – US$14.8 billion
  3. Li Xiting – US$14 billion
  4. Goh Cheng Liang – US$12.3 billion
  5. Kwek Leng Beng – US$11 billion
  6. Zhang Yong & Shu Ping – US$9.7 billion
  7. Khoo family – US$8.5 billion
  8. Wee Cho Yaw – US$7.1 billion
  9. Leo Koguan – US$6.5 billion
  10. Kwee brothers – US$6.3 billion

Forbes’ methodology involved an in-depth examination of stock prices, exchange rates, public data, private valuations, and insights from analysts and the individuals themselves.

Noteworthy is the inclusion of shared family fortunes, like that of Kwek Leng Beng and his extended kin. The rankings, accurate as of August 18, 2023, provide a panoramic view of Singapore’s affluent, even if they reside abroad but maintain substantial ties to the nation.

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Singapore should re-establish Estate Duties that was abolished in a harsh years ago. We have more and more foreigners parking their money, be it clean, muddy or dirty money here as our privacy laws are very much in favour of these foreigners who wanted low profile status.

Just look at the Fujian Gang, $1.8 billion and counting, some were settled here for more than 7 years and nothing is done to check on them. SG only catch the smaller fishes and not the big dirty whales?