Tycoon Tsai Eng-meng (蔡衍明) topped Taiwan’s richest list for the first time boosted by his booming China-based business, Forbes magazine said yesterday.
Tsai, chairman of food company Want Want China Holdings, saw his net worth rise to an estimated US$8 billion from US$6.1 billion last year, when he ranked third on the Forbes Taiwan Rich List, Forbes said.
His company, which is known for its snacks, rice crackers, dairy products and juice, produced revenues of US$2.9 billion in the latest fiscal year, the report said.
Tsai is among several tycoons among the top 10 who have made their fortunes in China, where Taiwan invested US$13.1 billion last year in financing, according to the Investment Commission, as well as crucial technological know-how.
The China-based Hurun Research Institute said in a different report on Wednesday that Tsai topped the list of wealthiest expatriates in China, and estimated his worth at US$7.9 billion.
Claiming the No. 2 spot in the Forbes list was Wei Ing-chou (魏應州) and his three brothers, who own the Hong Kong-listed Tingyi Holding that controls much of China’s beverage market. Their wealth was estimated at US$6.6 billion.Wei came second in the Hurun list of wealthiest expatriates in China.
Technology tycoon Terry Gou (郭台銘), head of China-based Foxconn group that makes electronic gadgets for Apple and other leading brands, ranked fourth this year with an estimated net worth of US$4.8 billion.
No. 7 Samuel Yin (尹衍樑) saw his wealth more than double to US$3.1 billion since the Hong Kong listing in July last year of his hypermarket operator Sun Art Retail Group in China, which he partners with France’s Auchan Group.
Tsai, whose business interests also include real-estate, insurance, financial services and media, overtook last year’s No. 1 Cher Wang (王雪紅), chairwoman of the smartphone company HTC.
Wang and her husband, Chen Wen-chi (陳文琦), fell to No. 8 this year as their wealth shrank by nearly two-thirds to US$3.05 billion as HTC struggled against rivals Apple and Samsung.
Additional reporting by CNA