Singapore is an economic success story that serves as an example of free market prosperity. It gained 15.1 percent back in 2010 alone due to increased exports, the heart of their economy.
Located in southeast Asia, the country’s population of more than 5.5 million citizens generates a GDP of $339 billion. The averages out to a per capita GDP of $62,400, the seventh highest in the world. Despite being an undeniably wealthy country, Ron Sim – the last-ranked billionaire on this list – has a net worth almost 20,000 times greater than the per capita income in Singapore.
Recent investments in medicine and pharmaceuticals are establishing Singapore as a highly-developed technological, medical and financial powerhouse. Their proximity to the equator allows for some rubber product production in Indonesia, while other significant industries include electronics, ship repair, financial services, chemical production, oil drilling and refineries.
Nearly half of the billionaires on this list made their empires through real estate activities, such as hotels, offices, shopping centers, residential communities and medical facilities, including a variety of high-end luxury projects around the world. Others on this list earned a fortune through frozen food, medical retail, electronic supplies, banking, palm oil and even paints.
15. Ron Sim – $1.2 billion
Ron Sim joined the billionaire’s club recently when his company, OSIM International, rose in value after strong sales of luxury massage chairs and other healthcare products. He was born into a difficult family situation as one of seven children. He started selling prawn noodles and serving tables before he turned nine, eventually putting himself through school through work in construction and shipyards while selling insurance and encyclopedias. Now his portfolio includes malls in China and Singapore.
14. Zhong Sheng Jian – $1.3 billion
Zhong Sheng Jian heads one of the most profitable luxury income developers operating in China, Yanlord Land. He was born in Lufeng, Guangdong province before moving to Singapore. One of his many investments includes Hongta Renheng Paper, the biggest Chinese producer of high-quality cardboard.
13. Koh Wee Meng – $1.3 billion
As majority owner of the Fragrance Group, Koh Wee Meng dove into foreign real estate for the first time, purchasing $156 million worth of developments in Melbourne, Perth and Tasmania. He’s also a big fan of historic automobiles, owning a total of twelve vintage masterpieces. His other main holding is a majority stake of Global Premium Hotels. He’s a self-made billionaire who was interested in real estate even as a young child.
12. Asok Kumar Hiranandani – $1.4 billion
Having diversified into Australia, Malaysia and Indonesia, Asok Kumar Hiranandani has decided to start handing the reigns over to his 28 year-old son Bobby, who will also manage the numerous shopping malls, hotels and office complexes in Singapore. They own Royal Group Holdings.
The Group has recently opened a new 135-suite luxury hotel named Sofitel So, that features interior design by Karl Lagerfeld. Royal Group Holdings also manages and renovates the recently purchased Sentosa Resort with the goal of reopening under the Sofitel name.
11. Sam Goi – $1.8 billion
Known as the “Popiah King” in Singapore, Sam Goi is a billionaire who was born in Fujian province and made most of his billions through Tee Yih Jia Foods. He also owns part of a variety of other companies, including food, beverage and electronic companies.
His latest ventures involve real estate through GSH Corp, which bought more than 75% of Sutera Harbour Group as well as the Equity Plaza officer tower.
10. Lim Oon Kuin – $2 billion
Lim Oon Kuin grew Hin Leong Trading into a giant Singapore oil company with revenues that may top $14 billion. Over fifty years ago, he had one truck that delivered diesel to fishers and now he’s expanding into Myanmar, which is beginning to open up to foreign investment.
Lim Oon Kuin also owns 65% of Universal Terminal, the most significant oil terminal in Asia, where he plans to build a $1.7 billion facility for storage.
9. Peter Lim – $2.2 billion
Peter Lim has made his billions through investments and currently focuses on gigantic deals such as the billion-dollar FASTrack Iskandar, which is dedicated to hosting motor sports. Another giant project is a gated city he’s developing alongside a medical complex that he’s also building. As a huge fan of Manchester United, his dream is to own a major football team, and is now attempting to purchase Valencia in Spain with promises to turn the franchise around financially.
Peter’s daughter, Kim Lim, has become an It girl and Instagram celebrity, documenting her life as one of Singapore’s richest heiresses.
8. Kuok Khoon Hong – $2.3 billion
A major player in the palm oil industry, Kuok Khoon Hong is at the helm of Wilmar International. One of his major initiatives is his policy to conduct business without violating human rights or forests.
He’s currently partnering with First Pacific investment firm to purchase the majority of Goodman Fielder, an Australian food giant, in an attempt to further diversify Wilmar. He also owns more than a quarter of India’s biggest sugar refiner.
7. Raj Kumar and Kishin RK – $2.3 billion
Raj Kumar and Kishin RK are a billionaire father and son duo who control vast investments in real estate developments. They are part of the board of Singapore River One, whose mandate is to revitalize waterfront properties along the river.
In this capacity, Kishin has been involved in his father’s renovation of Robertson Quay and a new Holiday Inn with 442 rooms. They also own office towers, medical facilities and other hotels.
6. Jason Chang – $2.9 billion
Advanced Semiconductor Engineering is lead by Jason Chang, who has benefited from climbing shares at his company, which is one of the largest semiconductor-packaging companies in the world.
This rise was attributed to a rapid response to new technology surrounding wearable electronics, cementing his future-leaning reputation. He also owns a part of Sino Horizon Holding, a commercial real estate company located in China.
5. Goh Cheng Liang – $4 billion
Goh Cheng Liang is a paint magnate with a philanthropic streak, recently donating $40 million for the National Cancer Center Singapore. This media-shy billionaire recently inked a deal with Nippon Paint to double his stake in the company. The company is run by Wuthelam Group, so it will expand his influence in paint to Malaysia, China, Vietnam and India.
4. Kwee Brothers – $5.1 billion
Pontiac Land is owned by the four Kwee brothers, who took over the company which was created by their father, Henry Kwee. As top developers of luxury properties, their most recent deal involves the construction of a 72-story residence beside the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. This will also expand gallery space by 36,000 square feet. The Kwee brothers own luxury hotels, office towers and high rises in Singapore.
3. Wee Cho Yaw – $5.9 billion
Wee Cho Yaw inherited United Overseas Bank, created by his father nearly 80 years ago. Since taking over it has grown into the third largest lender in southeast Asia. Wee Ee Cheong, Wee Cho Yaw’s son, runs the bank, collecting the second biggest paycheck of all bankers in Singapore.
2. Kwek Leng Beng – $7.5 billion
The two biggest pieces of Kwek Leng Beng’s fortune are City Developments and Millennium & Copthorne Hotels, which have completed and are involved in projects upwards of half a billion dollars.
He’s acquired Novotel in Times Square and Chelsea Harbour Hotel in London, as well as completing the world’s biggest vertical garden in Singapore.
1. Robert and Philip Ng – $11.8 billion
Robert and Philip Ng created their billions through real estate deals and developments, recently investing hundreds of millions in the Australian market. The Far East Hospitality Trust, owned by the Ng brothers, have properties worth nearly $2.5 billion. Tsim Sha Tsui Properties in Hong Kong forms the biggest chunk of their fortune.