In land-scarce Singapore, real estate is king. That is why Philip Ng, CEO of Far East Organization, is the richest man in the Southeast Asian city-state with an estimated net worth of US$5.2bn, according to a new list compiled by Wealth-X, the ultra high net worth intelligence and prospecting firm, of the top 10 Singapore-based billionaires. Nearly 80% of the property tycoon’s net worth comes from his real estate holdings.
Ng’s net worth accounts for about one-fifth of the combined wealth of the 10 individuals on the Wealth-X list, which includes citizens of Brazil, New Zealand and Indonesia who have established their primary business addresses in Singapore and reside there.
Ng, 55, became CEO of Far East Organization in 1991. His father founded the company 31 years earlier, and it has grown to become Singapore’s largest private property developer with 750 properties in the residential, hospitality, retail, commercial and industrial sectors. A notable philanthropist, Ng has given generously to universities and educational institutions in Singapore. The new Jurong General Hospital in Singapore is to be named after his father, Teng Fong Ng, following a donation of more than US$95m by the Ng family in March 2011.
In the number two spot – and the youngest billionaire on the list – is 32-year-old Brazil-born entrepreneur Eduardo Saverin, co-founder of Facebook. Saverin moved to Singapore in 2009 and renounced his American citizenship ahead of Facebook’s IPO filing in 2012, a move that reportedly saved him millions of dollars in taxes.
New Zealand-born Richard Chandler is third on the list. Chairman of the Chandler Corporation, a Singapore-based business group that invests in public and private equity, his net worth is US$2.8bn.
There are 27 billionaires in Singapore with a combined net worth of US$64bn, according to the Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census 2013.