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Founder of Medtech firm that makes ventilators tops Forbes' Singapore Rich List

Li Xiting adds US$5.2b to his net worth as demand for ventilators surge amid pandemic

The founder of ventilator-maker Shenzhen Mindray Bio-Medical Electronics Co, Mr Li Xiting, this year took the top spot on Forbes' Singapore Rich List for the first time, with his net worth soaring amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Anthony Tan, co-founder of super app Grab, was among three new additions to the list, which compiles the 50 richest people in the Republic.

Alongside him were Dr Shi Xu, founder of nanotechnology solutions company Nanofilm, and Mr Zhao Changpeng, founder and chief executive of cryptocurrency exchange Binance.

The combined net worth of Singapore's 50 most affluent rose 25 per cent to US$208 billion (S$282 billion) this year, with 42 entrants worth US$1 billion or more.

Mr Li, whose company's shares have risen about 19 per cent since last year due to a surge in demand for its medical devices during the coronavirus outbreak, occupied the second spot on last year's list. The naturalised Singaporean added some US$5.2 billion to his net worth over the past year.

Grab's Mr Tan, the scion of Malaysia car distributor Tan Chong Motor's president, aims to list in the United States through a special purpose acquisition company deal which would value the company at around US$40 billion.

He has previously featured among Malaysia's richest.

Meanwhile, Dr Shi saw his net worth surge after Nanofilm listed last year. The company entered a joint-venture agreement with state investor Temasek last month to explore solutions around the use of hydrogen as an energy source.

Second on this year's list was Facebook co-founder and venture capitalist Eduardo Saverin, while paint tycoon Goh Cheng Liang came in third.

Mr Goh's Wuthelam Holdings took a majority stake in Japan's biggest paintmaker Nippon Paint Holdings in a US$12 billion deal that was completed in January. This contributed to his net worth growing by US$3.8 billion to US$18.6 billion.

One-fifth of those listed in the August issue of Forbes Asia are tech tycoons, indicating that Singapore's efforts to foster a culture conducive to start-ups are paying off. They include the three co-founders of e-commerce platform Shopee's parent company Sea - Mr Forrest Li, Mr Ye Gang and Mr David Chen - who all made the top half of the list.

Hotpot chain Haidilao's Mr Zhang Yong and Ms Shu Ping, who were ranked first in last year's list, slipped to fourth this year as their net worth dipped to US$16 billion from US$19 billion a year ago.

Haidilao International Holding's shares have slipped in recent months, reflecting the challenges faced by the global restaurant industry during the pandemic.

The couple were among seven entrants on the Forbes list whose wealth declined in the past year.

The minimum net worth to make this year's list was US$735 million, up from US$610 million last year.

Foreign citizens who reside in Singapore as well as those who are not residents but have significant business or other ties to the Republic can also be included in the list.


FORBES TOP 10 RICHEST IN SINGAPORE

Rank  Name                                 Net Worth      Industry

1        Li Xiting                               $23 billion       Medical technology

2        Eduardo Saverin                $20.5 billion    Venture capital

3        Goh Cheng Liang               $18.6 billion    Paint

4        Zhang Yong & Shu Ping   $16 billion        Food and beverage

5        Forrest Li                            $15.9 billion     Tech

6        Robert and Philip Ng        $14.2 billion     Real estate

7        Gang Ye                              $10.3 billion     Tech

8        Kwek Leng Beng               $8.5 billion        Finance, real estate

9        Wee Cho Yaw                     $6.8 billion       Finance

10     Khoo family                         $6.5 billion       Finance, hospitality

BUSINESS & FINANCE