BEAUTY IN THE FRIDGE

Sea co-founder Forrest Li is the newest richest man in S’pore with a net worth of US$20.2B

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About three weeks ago, business magazine Forbes released its Singapore’s Richest 2021 list, where Li Xiting took the top spot with a net worth of US$23 billion (~S$31 billion), up from the second position last year.

The Singapore citizen is also ranked 82nd on Forbes’ Billionaires 2021 list and 20th on Forbes’ China Rich List 2020.

Today, Li Xiting’s real-time net worth has dropped to US$18.7 billion. Adding on to that, Bloomberg Billionaires Index recently declared him as the second richest man in Singapore with a net worth of US$18.1 billion (as of 1 September 2021).

Instead, Sea co-founder Forrest Li, has overtaken him as Singapore’s richest with a net worth of US$20.2 billion.

The Bloomberg Billionaires Index is a daily ranking of the world’s richest people. Details about the calculations are provided in the net worth analysis on each billionaire’s profile page and the figures are updated at the close of every trading day in New York.

How he became Singapore’s richest

Forrest Li co-founded Sea Ltd, and also serves as the company’s chairman and chief executive officer.

He became Singapore’s richest as his company shares surged 67 per cent this year.

Sea is now touted as Southeast Asia’s most valuable company, and has been deepening its foray in fintech beyond gaming and e-commerce.

Sea won a digital banking license in Singapore last December and is also reportedly eyeing a digital bank in Indonesia following the acquisition of Indonesia’s PT Bank Kesejahteraan Ekonomi (Bank BKE).

These moves will help expand its SeaMoney business beyond payments to include lending, insurance, wealth management and other financial services.

According to Sea’s latest earnings report released on 17 August 2021, SeaMoney has continued to see strong growth in terms of adoption.

Its mobile wallet total payment volume exceeded US$4.1 billion for the second quarter of 2021, an increase of close to 150 per cent year-on-year.

Moreover, quarterly paying users for their mobile wallet services increased to 32.7 million in the second quarter.

Other key highlights of the Q2 report is that Sea’s total revenue rose 158.6 per cent to US$2.3 billion. Its total gross profit is recorded at US$930.9 million, up 363.5 per cent year-on-year.

Sea’s broader success is also thanks to its mobile game Free Fire, which has exceeded one billion downloads on Google Play.

forrest li shopee
Image Credit: Guru Gamer

It is also driven by the strong growth of its e-commerce platform, Shopee, which has become the second-most downloaded shopping app on Android and iOS globally.

In Southeast Asia, Shopee continued to rank first in the Shopping category by average monthly active users and total time spent in-app for Q2 2021, according to App Annie.

Sea’s e-commerce business also saw a 160.7 per cent increase in revenue to US$1.2 billion; and recorded gross orders totalling 1.4 billion, an increase of 127.4 per cent year-on-year.

Sea’s other founders are also billionaires

Li, who is a naturalised Singapore citizen, first joined the billionaire club more than two years ago in March 2019.

According to Sea, he now sits on the board of directors of the Economic Development Board, and serves on the board of trustees at the National University of Singapore.

(From left to right) Forrest Li, Gang Ye and David Chen / Image Credit: Sea

Sea’s two other co-founders, Gang Ye and David Chen, are also billionaires.

According to Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Ye, Sea’s chief operating officer, has a net worth of US$11 billion. Meanwhile, Chen, who is Shopee’s chief product officer, has a net worth of US$3.6 billion.

The three of them, who hail from China, are also all featured on the top half of Forbes’ Singapore’s Richest 2021 list.

Featured Image Credit: Sea Ltd

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