Bezos still world's richest person, Far East Organization's Ng brothers tops in Singapore: Forbes

NEW YORK (AFP) – Amazon chief executive officer Jeff Bezos remains the world’s richest person, ahead of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and United States billionaire investor Warren Buffett, according to the latest Forbes list of the ultra wealthy.

But while things are largely stable at the top of that ranking, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg dropped three spots and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg rose by two.

According to the list announced on Tuesday (March 5) by Forbes, the riches of Mr Bezos, 55, have swelled by US$19 billion (S$25.8 billion) in one year, and he is now worth US$131 billion.

Mr Bezos, who holds 16 per cent of Amazon and whose wealth now makes him a target of the left wing of the US Democratic Party, has widened the money gap between himself and Mr Gates.

Mr Gates, 63, has seen his wealth grow to US$96.5 billion, up from US$90 billion last year, said Forbes.

Third place is held by Mr Buffett, 88, long considered an investment guru, although he did get stung in late February by a deep plunge in shares of US processed food maker Kraft Heinz, in which he had money.

Mr Buffett’s fortune slipped by US$1.5 billion to US$82.5 billion, the magazine estimated.

It is more or less after this trio that things start to get shaken up on the Forbes list.

The CEO of French luxury good company LVMH, Mr Bernard Arnault, held on to fourth place. But Mr Zuckerberg lost US$9 billion in net worth and slipped from fifth to eighth.

Ahead of Mr Zuckerberg now are Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim, Zara and Inditex founder Amancio Ortega of Spain, and Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison.

Mr Bloomberg rose from 11th to ninth place as his fortune increased to US$55.5 billion, from US$50 billion, said Forbes.

Americans still dominate the list, with 14 of the top 20 billionaires from the US.

Non-Americans among the top 20 include India’s Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries, in 13th place, and China’s Ma Huateng, head of the Chinese Internet giant Tencent, who rounds out the top 20.

There were 22 Singaporeans who made the list, with real estate barons Robert and Philip Ng – who control Far East Organization, Singapore’s largest private landlord and property developer – coming up tops among their countrymen at a joint 112th, with US$12 billion.

Second among the Singaporeans in the ranking was 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 his fortune worth US$7.2 billion. 

Coming in third was Mr Zhang Yong, the founder of popular Sichuan-style hotpot chain Haidilao, at 224th place, with US$6.8 billion.

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