The Who’s Who List: Singapore’s Top Property Tycoons

As Singapore property prices remain resilient even in the face of the government’s recent string of cooling measures and the Eurozone’s uncertain financial future, Singapore’s property tycoons maintain a firm grip on their positions on the top of the list of Singapore’s Richest Tycoons. While their names may not immediately ring a bell, you would definitely have heard of the companies they own, and very likely would have been one of their customers at some point:

1) The “King of Orchard Road”

Shopaholics who brave the crowds on Orchard road every weekend to stock up on the latest fashion trends have the Ng family to thank. As founder of Far East Organization and developer of over 700 malls, condominiums and hotels, including Orchard Central and Fullerton Hotel,  the Ng family’s property empire stretches across the South China Sea all the way to Hong Kong, where the family owns Hong Kong Sino Group. Skyline Tower, a commercial building, also recently received The Green Building Award in 2010 for its all-round green designs and environmentally-friendly management team.

2) Founder of Little India’s Mustafa Center

Little India’s Mustafa Center may be the closest thing Singapore has to a Walmart in the USA. The mega-mall, known for its low prices, sells everything from clothes, perfume, jewelry to fresh meat and fruit, and is the only retailer of its size open 24-hours, 365 days a week in Singapore. Mustafa Center was founded by its Indian owner, Mustaq Ahmad in 1971, whose name now makes a regular appearance on the list of Singapore’s richest businessmen.

3) British Luxury-Fashion House Stock Owners

Thanks to the growing international demand for high-end luxury fashion, the stock of British fashion company, Mulberry, has been on the rise, further boosting the wealth of Malaysian couple Beng Seng and Christina Ong. Other than their large stake in the high-fashion business, the couple are also owners of Hotel Properties Ltd (listed as HPL in the Singapore Stock Exchange), whose portfolio includes 19 luxury hotels in the region. More recently, Mr Ong was credited with being the key person involved for successfully bringing the F1 night race to Singapore.

4) Developer of Sentosa’s 6-Star Hotel

The list of the Kwee brother’s properties read like they are straight of out Singapore’s “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous”: the Ritz-Carlton, Regent, Conrad Centennial, 2 office towers at Marina Bay, and more recently, the new 6-star hotel on Sentosa, the Capella, with a fully-restored former colonial building serving as its main architectural centerpiece. To top up their list of achievements, Kwee Liong Keng, the eldest brother in the family, even has an ambassadorship to his name.

5) Singapore’s Donald Trump

Ask any ambitious young banker you know who they aspire to be, and chances are the first name that rolls off their lips would be Wee Cho Yaw, the current Chairman of UOB. The banking giant was founded by his father, Wee Kheng Chiang. Next in line to take over the family business is his son, Wee Ee Chong, who currently serves as the CEO of UOB. Wee Cho Yaw also has a hand in the property business, with holdings in UOL group, Pan Pacific Hotels Group, United Industrial Corporation, and Singapore Land and its subsidiary, Marina Centre Holdings.

6) A Kiwi In Singapore

Richard Chandler may have been born in New Zealand, a country the butt of many Kiwi sheep jokes, but his fortune in Hong Kong real estate is definitely no laughing matter. Originally focused on Hong Kong real estate, and now based in Singapore, his investment holdings also include Latin American treasuries, telecommunications firms and utilities, and more currently, a heavy stake in Sino-Forest, the Chinese forestry company.