China-born billionaire Li Xiting whose fortune boomed during the pandemic is still Singapore’s richest man

China-born billionaire Li Xiting whose fortune boomed during the pandemic is still Singapore’s richest man

SINGAPORE: A list of the country’s wealthiest people was published on Sunday (Feb 19) and shows that Chinese-born business magnate Li Xiting is still on top of the list, with a net worth of US$17.1 billion (SGD22.9 billion).

The Covid-19 pandemic added greatly to the fortunes of Mr Li, the CEO and co-founder of Shenzhen Mindray Bio-Medical Electronics Co, as the demand for ventilators increased in early 2020.

In the first years of the pandemic, Mr Li’s net worth grew by an estimated US$1 billion each month as the stock price of Mindray, China’s largest medical equipment manufacturer, ascended during the bearish market.

In April 2020, his net worth was US$12.5 billion. The following year, it had grown to US$23 billion. And although it dropped to US$17 billion by 2022, he is still the wealthiest man in Singapore today, according to a list published by the CEO World website on Feb 19.

Mr Li was born in China in 1950 but moved to Singapore, becoming a naturalised citizen in 2018. He is also a known philanthropist. As Covid-19 ravaged different parts of the globe, he donated nearly $6.5 million of medical equipment to northern Italy and Wuhan areas.

After Mr Li, brothers Robert and Philip Ng, the sons of Ng Teng Fong, founder of the Far East Organization, are listed as Singapore’s wealthiest. It is the biggest private landlord and property developer in the country.

The net worth of the Ng brothers is US$15.3 billion (SGD20.5 billion).

Close on the heels of Robert and Philip Ng is Mr Goh Cheng Liang, who holds a major stake in Japan’s Nippon Paint Holdings, the fourth-biggest paint manufacturer in the world today. His net worth is listed as US$15 billion (SGD20.1 billion).

Fourth on the list, with a net worth of US$7.6 billion (SGD10.2 billion), is Mr Wee Cho Yaw, chairman of the United Overseas Bank (UOB) and United Industrial Corporation (UIC).

Interestingly, Mr Wee was included in the “8 Singaporeans included in Bloomberg Billionaires Index of top 500 wealthiest in the world” that The Independent Singapore reported on in 2019. But back then, his net worth was US$9.14 billion (S$12.2 billion).

Haidilao chairman Mr Zhang Yong rounds out the top five, with a net worth of US$7.1 billion (S$9.5 billion). His wife, Ms Shu Ping, is the company director of Haidilao International Holding. Forbes listed her net worth as US$1.8 billion (S$2.4 billion), whereas in 2019, it had US$7.51 billion (S$10.17 billion).

However, one notable name absent from the list is Brazilian billionaire entrepreneur Eduardo Saverin, who co-founded Facebook and moved to Singapore in 2009. His net worth is listed as US$9.8 billion (SGD13.1 billion), which should have put him in fourth place.

And SEA chairman Forrest Li, whom Bloomberg had declared Singapore’s richest man in September of 2021 with a net worth of $26.6 billion, is in eighth place on the list, with a net worth of US$4.1 billion (SGD5.5 billion). /TISG

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