SINGAPORE - Twenty-two Singaporeans made Forbes' latest list of the world's richest, with real estate barons Robert and Philip Ng coming up tops among their countrymen for the 10th year running.
The sons of the late tycoon Ng Teng Fong, who control Far East Organization, Singapore's largest private landlord and property developer, are joint 112th on the Forbes list, with a combined US$12 billion (S$16.3 billion) fortune, said the business magazine.
Second among the uber-rich Singaporeans in the ranking is paint tycoon Goh Cheng Liang, whose wealth comes largely from a 39 per cent stake in Japan's Nippon Paint Holdings. He was ranked at No 203, with a net wealth of US$7.2 billion.
Coming in third among Singaporeans is Zhang Yong, the founder of popular Sichuan-style hotpot chain Haidilao. Mr Zhang, who was No 13 on China's rich list last year, takes 224th place in the global ranking with a net worth of US$6.8 billion.
His wife and Haidilao co-founder Shu Ping, also made it to the list. She is 14th richest in Singapore and No 1,281 globally with a fortune of US$1.8 billion. The company, which went public last September, has US$10.4 billion in sales from more than 300 restaurants in China, the US, Japan, South Korea, as well as Singapore.
United Overseas Bank chairman emeritus Wee Cho Yaw placed 267th globally with US$6.1 billion, the Kwee brothers are at 311th with US$5.6 billion and Valencia football club owner Peter Lim at 916th with US$2.5 billion.
For only the second year in a decade, both the number of billionaires and their total wealth shrank, proving that even the wealthiest are not immune to economic forces and weak stock markets, said Forbes.
By its latest count there are 2,153 billionaires in the world, 55 fewer than a year ago. Of those, a record 994, or 46 per cent, are poorer (relatively speaking) than they were last year. In total, the ultra-rich are worth US$8.7 trillion, down US$400 billion from 2018.
Altogether 11 per cent of last year’s list members, or 247 people, dropped out of the ranks, the most since 2009 at the height of the global financial crisis.
Asia-Pacific was hardest hit, with 60 fewer billionaires, led by China, which lost 49.
The Americas, driven by a resurgent Brazil, and the US are the only two regions that have more billionaires than they did a year ago, said Forbes. The US boasts a record 607, including 14 of the world’s 20 richest.
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos remains the world's richest person, ahead of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and United States billionaire investor Warren Buffett. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg dropped three spots to No 8 and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg rose by two to 9th place.
Bezos, who owns 16 per cent of Amazon, saw his wealth swell by US$19 billion in one yea to US$131 billion.
The richest Asian is India's Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries, in 13th place with a net worth of US$50 billion. China's Ma Huateng, head of the Internet giant Tencent, at No 20 with US$38.8 billion pipped Alibaba's Jac Ma at No 21 with US$34.6 billion.
The youngest billionaire is 21-year-old Kylie Jenner, making her Forbes list debut with US$1 billion. The youngest of the Kardashian-Jenner reality TV family is also the youngest self-made billionaire of all time. Her boost in wealth comes mainly from Kylie Cosmetics, her makeup company, which Forbes now values at US$900 million.
Other notable newcomers to the Forbes list include Oracle CEO Safra Catz, Spotify co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek, and CEO of Canada Goose Dani Reiss.