According to Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Consensus 2013, Singapore has 27 billionaires, which makes it the fifth biggest billionaire population in Asia and 18th in the world.
The typical Singapore billionaire is said to be mainly from the “finance, banking and investments sector” (I think they probably put real estate in investment because most of the billionaires here are in real estate), has at least a degree and is above 60 years old.
The study also shows that as of 2013, the total number of billionaires in the world has reached a record of 2,170, with Asia being the fastest growing region.
Interestingly, if you look at the Forbes List of Billionaires, you will notice most of the billionaires from other countries own some real business, be it telecom, software, supermarket, etc. Of course, you still have your stock genius Warren Buffett and some hedge fund managers.
This really makes wonder what are supporting the wealth of our society. In my recent article Why is the ease of Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) restriction disappointing, I said that people have started to forget the virtue of hard work in pursuing fast money. They cannot be blamed because if we look around and try to identify the “wealthy people” in this small island, we see real estate, real estate and real estate. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the Singapore billionaires below:
By flipping a property from one person’s hand to another, you don’t create additional value for the society. You don’t provide essential services for the country like Carlos Slim Helu & family in Mexico; you don’t build the PC revolution like Bill Gates from Microsoft in USA; you don’t make people beautiful like Liliane Bettencourt & family from L’Oreal in France; you don’t improve people’s daily life by provide top class supermarket like the Wal-Mart.
Instead, you create or inflate bubble, you give people the false impression that they are sitting on some properties worth millions of dollars but forget that it is on paper. It is only a gain if a greater fool is willing to pay a higher price than what you have paid.
The sad thing is, if you are a middle class or even a successful entrepreneur and trying to mimic the success path of these rich, you are probably too late. Just keep an eye on what Li Ka-Shing is doing.