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Despite Pandemic, Singapore’s 50 Wealthiest Got $37 Billion Richer

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Key Points

  • Forbes reported on August 19 that the country’s 50 richest individuals have collectively added US$37 billion to their fortune.
  • Forbes also reported that the pandemic has not been generous to all billionaires in Singapore.
  • Pacific International Lines’ co-founder, Chang Yun Chung, can no longer be counted among the billionaires at all. A shipping industry decline has caused the company having to restructure its debts.
  • Visit The Financial Today’s homepage for more stories.

The coronavirus pandemic has meant unprecedented economic woes for nearly everyone across the globe, with exceptions, it seems, among the wealthiest individuals in the world. For example, in the United States as of May of this year, Jeff Bezos added US$34.6 billion to his fortune, and Mark Zuckerberg got richer by US$25 billion.

Forbes reported on August 19 that the country’s 50 richest individuals have collectively added US$37 billion to their fortune. While this is not quite on the same scale as Bezos or Zuckerberg, it’s nothing to sniff at, despite the year-on-year decline in the GDP of Singapore by 13.2 percent. It still means that this ultra-wealthy party has risen its assets to US$167 billion by 28 percent.

Zhang Yong and Shu Ping, of Haidilao International Holding, the hotpot chain, remain the wealthiest couple in Singapore. They added US$5.2 billion to their total net worth, now at US$19 billion.

But the man in the number two spot, Li Xiting from Shenzhen Mindray Bio-Medical Electronics Co., may just unseat them. His wealth has soared due to a rise in ventilator demand, which could be required by as many as five percent of coronavirus patients. The net worth now stands at US$17.8 billion. His net worth only stood at US$12.5 billion in April, showing how quickly his fortune has gone up.

In the third place is Goh Cheng Liang of Nippon Paint, who in the last year saw his net worth grow to US$14.8 billion. And Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin is at Goh’s heels, with his net worth of US$14 billion. As  Facebook stocks grew, so did Saverin’s fortune.

At number five are the Robert and Philip Ng brothers, the Far East Organization real estate tycoons. Combined, their net worth has risen by US$1 billion from last year and now stands at US$13.2 billion.

Forbes reports, however, that the pandemic has not been generous to all billionaires in Singapore. Pacific International Lines’ co-founder, Chang Yun Chung, can no longer be counted among the billionaires at all. A shipping industry decline has caused the company having to restructure its debts.

Many who made their fortunes in the tourism industry also suffered, including Michael Kum of M&L Hospitality and the Fragrance Group’s Koh Wee Meng who saw a decline in their net worth.

Koh, who is Singapore’s 41st richest man, had a net worth of US$1.2 billion in August 2019, now down to US$870 million, while Kum, ranked 43rd richest in the country, last year had a net worth of US$930 million, now down to US$730 million.

As for one of the country’s largest oil trading firms, Hin Leong Trading, its owner Lim Oon Kuin, last April filed for bankruptcy. He’s no longer on Singapore’s Top 50 Wealthiest list.

A list of Singapore’s 50 richest people can be found here.

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