First Taiwan billionaire of 2015 minted in Shanghai trading

HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) - Hsung Yueling, chairman of Ningbo Techmation Co., became the first billionaire minted in Taiwan this year after the company surged to a record.

Mr Hsung, who's also known as Xiong Yulin, owns about 60 per cent of Ningbo Techmation with his wife, Chou Shanshan, giving him a net worth of at least US$1.1 billion (S$1.48 billion), according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The company, which makes systems that control plastic- molding machines, jumped by the exchange-imposed limit of 10 per cent to 55.90 yuan (S$ 12.32) at the close on Wednesday and added another 10 per cent as of 10:18 a.m. (10:18 am Singapore time) in Shanghai trading. The Shanghai Composite Index has climbed 53 per cent this year, making it the world's second best-performer, while Taiwan's benchmark gauge has increased 4.4 per cent.

"If you think about the pivoting away from exports toward internal consumption-driven growth in China, with a number of people also rising to a more affluent status, it's not hard to believe there's so many billionaires," Joseph Poon, head of UBS AG's ultra high-net-worth business for Southeast Asia, said at a Singapore briefing this week.

China's surging stock market has produced more than 50 new billionaires so far this year.

Calls to Ningbo Techmation's investor relations department weren't returned.

Mr Hsung founded the company with his wife more than three decades ago, when it was called Techmation Taiwan. The business, which set up Ningbo Techmation in the eastern Chinese city of Ningbo in 2001, developed Asia's first plastic injection controller with a screen for Chinese characters, according to its prospectus.

Taiwanese businesses are benefiting from warmer ties with China, which has claimed Taiwan as part of its territory ever since Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists fled to the island during a civil war with Mao Zedong's Communists in 1949. Since taking office in 2008, Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou has broadened investment, trade and transport links with China, and oversaw the first government-to-government meeting on cross-strait relations.

Techmation's biggest client is Haitian International Holdings Ltd., a maker of plastic injection moulding machines that's also based in Ningbo, according to the IPO prospectus.