Published March 10, 2007


Yanlord's Sheng Jian joins ranks of richest S'poreans

Lakshmi Mittal remains Asia's wealthiest: Forbes


(SINGAPORE) Singaporeans Ng Teng Fong, Wee Cho Yaw, Kwek Leng Beng & family, and Zhong Sheng Jian have made it to Forbes' ultra-rich list this year.

Meanwhile Mittal Steel boss Lakshmi Mittal continues his reign as the richest man in Asia.

Mr Mittal is also the world's fifth-richest man, with a fortune estimated at US$32 billion - far ahead of Singapore's richest man, Ng Teng Fong, with US$6.1 billion.

Besides Mr Mittal, other Asians who made it to the top 20 include Hong Kong's Li Ka-shing, as well as Mukesh and Anil Ambani. Mr Li took ninth spot worldwide with a net worth of US$23 billion, while Mukesh Ambani's wealth is estimated at US$20.1 billion. His brother Anil has a net worth of US$18.2 billion.

Mr Ng, whose rank rose to 118 this year from 174 previously, runs the privately operated Far East Organization, which owns listed firm Yeo Hiap Seng. He also holds assets in Hong Kong.

United Overseas Bank chairman Wee Cho Yaw rose in ranks to 167 from 317 in 2006, and is worth some US$4.7 billion this year, almost double the US$2.4 billion of last year.

Mr Kwek, who controls the Hong Leong Group, including City Developments and London-listed Millennium & Copthorne, saw his wealth rising to US$4.3 billion this year. He is ranked 194th worldwide. Making his debut, Mr Zhong joined the ranks of the world's richest after the listing of his property development arm Yanlord last year. His wealth is estimated at US$1.7 billion.

Even though the US continues to dominate with 415 out of 946 billionaires this year, Asia's share of ultra-rich has gone up to 17 per cent from 14.5 per cent in 2006.

After two decades, Japan has been replaced by India as Asia's top spot for billionaires. India leads with 36 in the list, worth a combined US$191 billion, while Japan's 24 billionaires came in second with a total net worth of US$64 billion.

Of the 54 newcomers in the list, 14 came from India and another 13 from China. South Korea contributed seven, while Australia and Hong Kong each boast five billionaires.

Self-made woman Yan Cheung, chairwoman of Nine Dragons Paper, who made her debut on this year's list, is also China's richest person, with a net worth of US$2.4 billion.

On the other hand, Japan's Yoshiaki Tsutsumi - once the world's richest man - made the list of 10 drop-offs.

Worldwide, Bill Gates remains the richest for the 13th straight year, with net worth of US$56 billion, followed by Warren Buffett, who is valued at US$52 billion.