Wed, Mar 04, 2015 - Page 4 News List

Nation has 38 billionaires on latest ‘Forbes’ rich list

By William Lowther  /  Staff reporter, in WASHINGTON

Taiwan has 38 billionaires — seven of them new entrants — appearing on this year’s Forbes Billionaires List, published on Monday.

Want Want Group chairman Tsai Eng-meng (蔡衍明) is once again the wealthiest person in the nation, with an estimated worth of US$8.9 billion.

Tsai’s wealth was said to be down from US$9.5 billion a year ago as a result of slower economic growth across the Taiwan Strait.

On the overall, global list, Tsai was ranked 147th.

Forbes said Apple Inc supplier Hon Hai Precision Industry Co chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘) moved up to the No. 2 ranking on the domestic list following the death last year of Fubon Group chairman Tsai Wan-tsai (蔡萬才).

Tsai’s sons, Daniel (蔡明忠) and Richard (蔡明興), were on the list for the first time, with an estimated worth of US$3 billion each.

The other newcomers were art and electronics tycoon Pierre Chen (陳泰銘), at US$2 billion; optics producer Scott Lin (林耀英) at US$1.5 billion; optics producer Tony Chen (陳世卿) at US$1.2 billion; auto parts magnate Chin Jong-hwa (秦榮華) at US$1 billion; and financier Thomas Wu (吳東亮) at US$1 billion.

“Taiwan’s list is dotted with returnee tech suppliers, including Richard Chang (張汝京) of semiconductor packaging house Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc and Bruce Cheng (鄭崇華), whose Delta Electronics Inc is also an Apple supplier,” Forbes writer Russell Flannery said.

“Want Want China honed its production and sales skills in its home Taiwan’s Chinese-style snack food market before expanding into the mainland’s in the 1980s. After years of success, it hit a bump last year, and warned last month that profit may have fallen in 2014,” Flannery said in an online comment.

However, Flannery said that was not enough to bump Tsai Eng-meng from the No. 1 spot in Taiwan.

“Want Want is still potent competition for rivals that include the likes of Coke, Pepsi and Unilever in the still-growing China market,” Forbes said.

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