Facebook Cofounder Eduardo Saverin Is New No. 1 As Combined Wealth Rises 8% to $177 Billion
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This story is part of Forbes’ coverage of Singapore’s Richest 2023. See the full list here.
Expats continue to mark their presence in the ranks of Singapore’s richest. Eduardo Saverin, cofounder of Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook) and a resident of the city-state for over a decade, is the new No. 1 with a net worth of $16 billion. The Brazilian native, the biggest gainer this year in dollar terms, added $6.4 billion as shares of Meta, which recently launched Twitter rival Threads, were up nearly 70% since we last measured fortunes.
Saverin, who also co-owns venture capital firm B Capital Group with assets of $6.3 billion under management, displaced Li Xiting, chairman of Shenzhen Mindray Bio-Medical Electronics, a supplier of medical devices. After occupying the top spot for two years, Li slipped to No. 3 as healthcare stocks took a hit on China’s anti-corruption drive against the pharma sector.
This shuffle at the top occurred amid a slowing economy that grew 3.6% last year and is expected to eke out a modest 0.5%-1.5% rise in 2023 due to sluggish exports and a fall in manufacturing output. Despite this downward trend, the combined wealth of the 50 richest was up 8% to $177 billion.
Property brothers Robert and Philip Ng of the Far East Organization retained second place though their wealth was slightly down to $14.8 billion. Another real estate stalwart, Kwek Leng Beng, held on to the No. 5 spot with his fortune rising 18% to a record $11 billion. After the pandemic, Kwek’s listed City Developments is once again eyeing global acquisitions and bought the iconic St Katharine Docks in central London for $500 million in March.
The wealth of more than half of those on the list was up this year, with six of them adding more than $1 billion each. This latter group includes a couple of old-money families whose wealth is tied to banking. The Lee family, which has a stake in OCBC, and the Lien family of United Overseas Bank were the biggest gainers in percentage terms and got a boost on new information about their holdings.
Singapore was beset by a political scandal that touched one of the listees. In July, the country’s anti-graft bureau arrested and released on bail Singapore’s transport minister as well as hotel magnate Ong Beng Seng. (Ong’s company Hotel Properties said in a statement that no charges had been filed and he would continue as managing director.)
Two entrepreneurs originally from China are among the three newcomers this year. Liang Xinjun, the cofounder of Chinese conglomerate Fosun International, who now runs his family office, XIN Family, from Singapore, makes his debut at No. 22 with $2.15 billion. The other is David Xueling Li, cofounder and chairman of Nasdaq-listed, Singapore-headquartered JOYY, a live streaming and social media platform. Singaporean Lim Kaling, an early investor in gaming devices maker Razer, joins the company’s founder Min-Liang Tan on the list.
Three from last year dropped off, including David Chen, the former billionaire cofounder of e-commerce and gaming firm Sea, which saw its shares tank on disappointing second-quarter results. Sea cofounders Forrest Li and Gang Ye remain in the ranks though their fortunes declined the most in percentage terms among all listees. The cutoff this year rose to $750 million from $705 million.
Reporting by Jonathan Burgos, Grace Chung, Gloria Haraito, Anuradha Raghunathan, Yessar Rosendar, Jessica Tan, Giacomo Tognini and Yue Wang.
Full Coverage of Singapore’s Richest 2023:
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. 18, 2023. 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.
Special thanks to the JLL research team and other experts who helped us with our reporting and valuations, including Govinda Singh, Colliers, and Dan Voellm, AP Hospitality Advisors.
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