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Shandy Tong
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News: Singapore's super-rich amassed wealth through property

Apr 3, 2014

Most of Singapore’s super-rich achieved their wealth via bricks and mortar rather than through creativity and innovation, according to media reports quoting Forbes.

In fact, half of the republic’s 16 billionaires achieved their wealth from hotels and real estate, while half of the 50 richest persons in the republic are property tycoons as well. This is based on Forbes list released in March and the Top 50 Rich List published last August.

For instance, brothers Philip and Robert Ng run Far East Organization, which was founded by the late Ng Teng Fong. Another is Kwek Leng Beng, who derived his wealth from publicly listed City Developments and his family’s unlisted Hong Leong Group.

Other families with a strong foothold in property include the Kwee brothers, whose firm Pontiac Land owns office buildings and five-star hotels.

The property market has also benefitted many Singaporean entrepreneurs, like father-son duo Raj Kumar & Kishin RK, whose Royal Holdings and RB Capital portfolio holds assets such as Gallery Hotel.

While Oxley’s Ching Chiat Kwong popularised shoebox flats, the fortunes of Hotel 81’s Choo Chong Ngen and Koh Wee Meng of Fragrance Hotel were boosted by the humble budget hotel chains.

Responding, Forbes Wealth Editor Luisa Kroll said: “Markets like Singapore with a finite amount of land and rising property values find that a larger proportion of their tycoons’ fortunes are tied to the valuable real estate.

“While entrepreneurs in these cities make their money in various industries, real estate stands out as a strong asset class,” she added.


Muneerah Bee, Senior Journalist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact her about this or other stories email


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Shandy Tong
Senior Associate Director
CEA Licence No.:
L3009250K / R006026J
(+65) 8288 8078
(+65) 9029 6282

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