358 billionaires in East Asia alone

358 billionaires in East Asia alone

In East Asia, the middle-aged and elderly superrich run the show.

Forbes recorded 358 billionaires in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea combined, and most were middle-aged and elderly in their 40s to 70s, with differing rates of self-made billionaires and heirs.


Forbes recorded 221 billionaires in mainland China with their collective assets worth US$773.3 billion (s$1.035 trillion).

Of them, 96 superrich were in their 50s with collective assets of US$285.6 billion, led by 51-year-old Jack Ma ― founder of Alibaba Group Holding ― with assets of US$24 billion.

Sixty-seven billionaires were in their 4os with combined assets of US$267.2 billion. The richest in this group was 44-year-old Ma Huateng, founder of Tencent with assets of US$19.5 billion.

Almost all of China's middle-aged superrich were self-made. A total of 95 out of 96 superrich in their 50s and 65 out of 67 in their 40s were self-made billionaires.

Taiwan and Hong Kong

Taiwan had 31 billionaires with collective assets of $75.2 billion. Of them, 16 were in their 50s and 60s with assets totaling US$48.4 billion.

Six out of nine Taiwanese billionaires in their 60s were self-made. While four earned their fortune through manufacturing, such as electronics and computers.

The richest among them, with US$7 billion assets, was 64-year-old Terry Gou, founder and chairman of Foxconn, which manufactures electronics for companies including Apple.

Three out of seven billionaires in their 50s were self-made, and most of them also found their fortune through manufacturing.

Tsai Eng-meng, 59-year-old chairman of food and drink company Want Want China, was the highest earning Taiwanese superrich in their 50s with assets of US$8.4 billion.

Hong Kong had 55 billionaires with combined assets of US$285.7 billion. Seventeen were in their 60s with collective assets of $64.4 billion and 12 were in their 50s with assets of US$61.7 billion.

Thirteen out of 17 superrich in their 60s were self-made, as were nine out of 12 in their 50s. Most of Hong Kong's riches were from real estate for both self-made billionaires and heirs.


Japan had a higher number of elderly superrich, with 10 out of 22 in their 60s and 70s having assets of US$49.3 billion. Among them, seven were self-made billionaires.

Tadashi Yanai, 66-year-old founder of Fast Retailing ― parent company of clothing brand Uniqlo ― was the leading Japanese superrich in their 60s and also the nation's richest with $22.5 billion in assets.

The highest-earning Japanese superrich in their 70s was Shigenobu Nagamori, 70-year-old chairman and CEO of manufacturing company Nidec Motors with assets of US$3.6 billion.

South Korea

According to Forbes, South Korea had 29 billionaires with total assets of $88 billion.

Most Korean superrich ― nine ― were in their 40s. Four were self-made billionaires while five were company heirs.

The highest-earning Korean self-made superrich in their 40s was 41-year-old Kwon Hyuk-bin, CEO and founder of online gaming company Smilegate with assets of US$3.6 billion.

The leading heir in their 40s was 47-year-old Samsung Group vice chairman Lee Jay-yong having assets of US$11.6 billion.

Eight billionaires were in their 50s, with six of them being heirs. The leading Korean superrich in their 50s was 52-year-old Suh Kyung-bae, chairman of AmorePacific Group.

South Korea was the only country out of the five regions where heirs outnumbered self-made billionaires in both head count and value of assets.

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