It’s time to recognise the wealth of Southeast Asia. ASEAN is now the world’s fifth largest economy, trailing only China and Japan in Asia. As the economies have grown, so too has individual wealth and now the region boasts 102 billionaires, according to Forbes. The richest people in Southeast Asia come from different backgrounds and made their money in different ways, but all are key figures in their home countries.

Singapore has been passed by Thailand as the ASEAN country with the most billionaires. A total of 30 billionaires are now found in Thailand while only 22 call the city-state home. Indonesia continues to grow and now boasts 20 billionaires while the Philippines has 14. Forbes noted that ASEAN billionaires have a total value of USD 270 billion. Without further ado, here are the richest people in Southeast Asia


Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi is one of the richest people in Southeast Asia
Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi

Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi

Worth: USD 17.9 billion (THB 558.6 billion)

Notable Holdings: Chang Beer, Big C, TCC Land

Similar wealth: Reclusive construction magnate Pallonji Mistr

Referred to locally as a beverage tycoon, Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi is the man who took Chang Beer global. Both internationally and domestically, Charoen’s ThaiBev manufactures and distributes all types of drinks including EST Cola, Coca-Cola and Pepsi’s local competitor. He is also behind developer TCC Land. The firm’s most notable project is the now under construction One Bangkok, the largest integrated district in Thai history.

Dhanin Chearavanont

Worth: USD 14.9 billion (THB 465 billion)

Notable Holdings: CP Group, True, 7-11 Thailand

Similar wealth: Rupert Murdoch

The entire Chearavanont Family is estimated to be worth USD 31.9 billion (THB 995.7 billion) but patriarch Dhanin remains the wealthiest. The CP Group got its start in 1921 selling seeds in Bangkok and grew over the years as an agribusiness. It would begin to expand internationally in the 1970s. In the last 40 years, the firm diversified its business to include telecom, retail and restaurant holdings.

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha
Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha

Worth: USD 5 billion (THB 156.1 billion)

Notable Holdings: King Power, Leicester City FC

Similar wealth: Richard Branson

Unlike other Thai billionaires on this list, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha doesn’t have a sprawling conglomerate. His focus is on King Power, the well-known, duty-free retailer. Anyone who has stepped foot in a Thai airport will likely have come across the brand. Vichai has used his wealth to purchase former English Premier League champions Leicester City while his company is the second largest shareholder Thai AirAsia, the domestic offshoot of the low cost airline.


Robert and Philip Ng

Worth: USD 10.8 billion (SGD 14.2 billion)

Notable Holdings: Far East Organization

Similar wealth: Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich

The Kings of Orchard Road have made their fortune as real estate developers. Their vision turned the sleepy Orchard Road into one of the world’s great districts. The pair oversees Far East Organization, Singapore’s largest private property developer. The company’s hospitality arm operates 14,000 rooms across 90 hotels and serviced residences in seven countries while retail assets include the popular Orchard Central mall.

Goh Cheng Liang

Worth: USD 7 billion (SGD 9.2 billion)

Notable Holdings: Nippon Paint (Southeast Asia)

Similar wealth: Hong Kong businesswoman Pollyanna Ch

Goh Cheng Liang made his fortune in paint. He founded Wuthelam Holdings which would form a joint venture with Japan’s Nippon Paint to produce and sell paint and coatings in several markets including China, India and Southeast Asia. Additionally, he is the largest shareholder in Nippon Paint.

Wee Cho Yaw is a rich person in Asia
Wee Cho Yaw

Wee Cho Yaw

Worth: USD 6.6 billion (SGD 8.7 billion)

Notable Holdings: United Overseas Bank

Similar wealth: Apollo Global Management founder Leon Black

The man behind United Overseas Bank’s massive growth in the past 50 years is Wee Cho Yaw. He took the bank public in 1970 and also oversaw its expansion into several areas such as property, insurance, lease financing and merchant banking. UOB now has more than 500 offices and operates in 18 countries across the globe.


Budi Hartono

Worth: USD 17.4 billion (IDR 239.5 trillion)

Notable Holdings: Djarum, Bank Central Asia

Similar wealth: Legendary investor Carl Icahn

The father of R. Budi Hartono took a bankrupt cigarette company and started rebuilding it. Hartono, along with his brother, would build on those foundations to create a worldwide tobacco products producer. Eventually his company would take over a majority stake in Bank Central Asia and is now developing the Hotel Indonesia in Jakarta.

Michael Hartono

Worth: USD 16.7 billion (IDR 229.9 trillion)

Notable Holdings: Djarum, Bank Central Asia

Similar wealth: Hong Kong developer Joseph Lau

Michael Hartono is the aforementioned brother of R. Budi Hartono who helped build Djarum into a cigarette powerhouse. While not as wealthy as his sibling, Michael is right behind him.

Sri Prakash Lohia is rich in Indonesia
Sri Prakash Lohia

Sri Prakash Lohia

Worth: USD 7.4 billion (IDR 101.8 trillion)

Notable Holdings: Indorama Corporation

Similar wealth: Singaporean paint powerhouse Goh Cheng Liang

Originally from India, Sri Prakash Lohia moved to Indonesia with his father after graduating from university. He would go on to found Indorama Corporation, a company best known for a component used to make plastic bottles. It also manufactures a number of other products such as polyethylene, polypropylene and medical gloves.

Dr. (HC) Ir. Ciputra 2
Dr. (HC) Ir. Ciputra

Dr. (HC) Ir. Ciputra

Worth: USD 1.4 billion (IDR 19.2 trillion)

Notable Holdings: Ciputra Development

Similar wealth: Software technology guru Eugene Kaspersky

The 12th richest Indonesian is Dr. (HC) Ir. Ciputra, founder and chairman of Ciputra Development, Indonesia’s premier real estate developer. He is best known for his commitment to entrepreneurship and was named as one of Dot Property’s Leaders of Real Estate in 2017.


Henry Sy is the richest man in the Philippines
Henry Sy

Henry Sy

Worth: USD 20 billion (PHP 1 trillion)

Notable Holdings: SM Prime, China Bank

Similar wealth: Elon Musk

From a shoe store in Manila to 70 malls and a portfolio of hotels and commercial buildings, Henry Sy has been a catalyst for development in the Philippines. SM Mall of Asia is just one of the many major projects developed under his watch. The founder of SM Prime also holds a significant stake in China Bank and Banco de Oro in the Philippines.

John Gokongwei Jr.

Worth: USD 5.8 billion (PHP 302 billion)

Notable Holdings: Robinsons Land, Cebu Pacific, Summit Media

Similar wealth: Vacuum legend James Dyson

JG Summit Holdings is one of the Philippines’ largest conglomerates. Its holdings stretch from land to air with a stake in property and aviation outfits. Founded by John Gokongwei Jr., the company continues to expand its horizons with his sons and daughters playing a leading role at many of JG Summit Holdings’ subsidiaries.

Enrique Razon Jr.

Worth: USD 4.9 billion (PHP 255 billion)

Notable Holdings: International Container Terminal Services, Solaire Casino and Resort

Similar wealth: Uber co-founder Garrett Camp

Enrique Razon Jr. made his fortune through port-handling firm International Container Terminal Services (ICTSI) but his Solaire Casino and Resort is probably more famous. ICTSI operates 29 ports worldwide with Brazil, Mexico, Poland and Indonesia among the firm’s locations. His Bloomberry Investments Holdings operate the Solaire and the Jeju Hotel and Casino in South Korea.


Pham Nhat Vuong 

Worth: USD 4.3 billion

Notable Holdings: VinGroup

Similar wealth: Finland’s richest person Antti Herlin

Pham Nhat Vuong was Vietnam’s first billionaire having taken the millions he made from an instant noodle business in Ukraine and founding VinGroup. This move would turn the millionaire into a billionaire. The real estate developer is active across all property segments.

Thi Phuong Thao Nguyen is the richest woman in Southeast Asia
Thi Phuong Thao Nguyen

Thi Phuong Thao Nguyen

Worth: USD 3.1 billion

Notable Holdings: VietJet Air

Similar wealth: US president Donald Trump

Thi Phuong Thao Nguyen was the only female billionaire in Southeast Asia as of 2017 and is one of 56 to make the Forbes’ billionaire list. Her holding company, Sovico, owns low cost airline VietJet Air as well as several resorts in Vietnam and Phu Long Real Estate Company.


Robert Kuok
Robert Kuok

Robert Kuok 

Worth: USD 14.8 billion

Notable Holdings: Shangri-la Hotels

Similar wealth: Thai conglomerate boss Dhanin Chearavanont

The reclusive Robert Kuok counts Shangri-la Hotels as part of his holdings. His wealth came from Malayan Sugar Manufacturing, a company that had up to an 80 percent market share in the country during the later stages of the 20th century. Kuok’s group would merge with Wilmar International in 2007, which is run by his nephew.

Quek Leng Chan

Worth: USD 7.2 billion

Notable Holdings: Hong Leong Bank, Guoco Group

Similar wealth: NFL owner and truck bumper tycoon Shahid Khan

Quek Leng Chan is a qualified UK barrister, but his legal skills aren’t what he is known best for. He would take the reigns of Hong Leong Company, a massive conglomerate with financial, hospitality, real estate and media holdings. He recently retired as CEO of the company as part of a restructuring plan.