This story appears in the September 2022 issue of Forbes Asia. Subscribe to Forbes Asia
This story is part of Forbes’ coverage of Singapore’s Richest 2022. See the full list here.
Singapore’s reputation as a safe haven, burnished during the pandemic, has made it a magnet for the wealthy. The continuing influx of rich foreigners boosted the city-state’s property sector, driving up prices and rentals. The easing of border restrictions from April led to an uptick in international visitors, sending hotel rates soaring. Despite these positive trends, rising inflation and the global tech rout knocked down the combined wealth of Singapore’s 50 richest by more than a fifth to $164 billion from a year ago.
The pecking order of the top five reflects post-pandemic realities. The wealth of Li Xiting, founder and chairman of Shenzhen Mindray Bio-Medical Electronics, shrank by nearly a third to $15.6 billion though he held on to his position as No. 1. Shares of his medical device maker dropped on slower sales growth. The property recovery and new information on their real estate holdings propelled brothers Robert and Philip Ng to second place with $15.2 billion. The fortune of 95-year-old paints tycoon Goh Cheng Liang, who controls Japan’s Nippon Paint Holdings and is the oldest person on the list, was down 30% to $13 billion though he remains at No. 3.
The tech sell-off more than halved the net worth of Facebook (since renamed Meta Platforms) cofounder Eduardo Saverin to $9.6 billion and he slipped two places to No. 4. New York-listed gaming firm Sea, last year’s red-hot stock, plunged on increasing losses in its e-commerce arm, eroding the wealth of its three cofounders Forrest Li, Gang Ye and David Chen by more than 70% each—the biggest drop in percentage terms.
These steep declines far outweighed the net worth rise recorded by more than half the list members. Notable in this group is Min-Liang Tan, founder of Razer, who benefited from taking his gaming devices firm private. The hospitality sector recovery brought hotelier Michael Kum of M&L Hospitality back in the ranks after a year’s gap.
There are two newcomers this year, both with international roots. The richest new entrant is Indonesia-born Leo Koguan, cofounder and chairman of IT provider SHI International, who revealed last year that he was the third-largest individual shareholder in Tesla. Now an American citizen residing in Singapore, Koguan appears at No. 7 with $7.6 billion. The second newcomer is France-born Laurent Junique, founder of Singapore-based call center and business process outsourcing firm TDCX, which listed last October on the New York Stock Exchange.
Three from last year dropped off, including Changpeng Zhao, the peripatetic founder of crypto exchange Binance, who was included among Singapore’s richest last year but has since moved to Dubai. Another high-profile absentee is Grab Holdings’ cofounder Anthony Tan; shares of the superapp tumbled amid continuing losses. The minimum net worth to make the list dropped to $705 million from $735 million last year.
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Additional reporting by Jonathan Burgos, Gloria Haraito, Anuradha Raghunathan, Jessica Tan and Yue Wang.
The list was compiled using shareholding and financial information obtained from the families and individuals, stock exchanges, analysts and other sources. Unlike our billionaire rankings, this list includes family fortunes, including those shared among extended families such as that of Kwek Leng Beng and his cousins. Net worths are based on stock prices and exchange rates as of the close of markets on Aug. 19, 2022. Private companies were valued based on similar companies that are publicly traded. The list can also include foreign citizens with business, residential or other ties to the country, or citizens who don’t reside in the country but have significant business or other ties to the country. The editors reserve the right to amend any information or remove any listees in light of new information.