Where do Mukesh Ambani, Jack Ma and Li-Ka-shing rank in the 15 richest people in Asia, who are collectively worth more than US$500 billion?

Asia’s rich list includes (from left) China’s He Xiangjian, Hong Kong’s Li Ka-shing and India’s Mukesh Ambani. Photos: Weibo, Kyodo, @mukeshambaniofficial/Instagram

The 15 richest people in Asia according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index and Forbes Billionaires List are worth more than a cool US$500 billion.

And while some of the billionaires occupying the top spots are self-made and created their fortunes themselves, such as Jack Ma, founder of China’s largest e-commerce company Alibaba (and owner of the South China Morning Post); others inherited their wealth from their families like Mukesh Ambani who took over his father’s oil company, Reliance Industries.

Read on to learn more about the top 15 richest people from the world’s largest continent, and how they made it big or even bigger.

15. Goh Cheng Liang

Net worth: US$22.4 billion

Age: 93

Location: Singapore

Industry: industrial

Source of wealth: self-made; Wuthelam Holdings

Net worth year-over-year change: up US$11.3 billion in the last year

Goh Cheng Liang founded Wuthelam Holdings, a company that makes paint, in 1974. Based in Singapore, the business operates in 17 countries, including China and India. Nippon Paint Holdings, the largest paint-making company in Japan, joined Wuthelam Holdings in August 2020, cites Bloomberg.

Goh is the richest person in Singapore and donated US$1 million to the Singapore Management University to sponsor The Goh Foundation Scholarship, which provides financial help to full time undergraduates.

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14. Qin Yinglin

Qin Yinglin and his wife founded a pig breeding and pork distribution company. Photo: Weibo

Net worth: US$22.7 billion

Age: 55

Location: China

Industry: food and beverage

Source of wealth: self-made; Muyuan Foodstuff

Net worth year-over-year change: up US$13.6 billion in the last year

Together Qin Yinglin and his wife Qian Ying founded Muyuan Foodstuff, a pig breeding and pork distribution company. The couple got started in 1992 and the company made US$3 billion in 2019. As a young man, Qin went to Henan Agricultural University where he studied animal husbandry before embarking on the business venture, according to his Forbes Billionaires profile. He is now serving as chairman.

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13. Zhang Zhidong

Zhang Zhidong was one of the co-founders of Tencent Holdings in Shenzhen. Photo: handout

Net worth: US$23.2 billion

Age: 48

Location: China

Industry: technology

Source of wealth: self-made; Tencent Holdings

Net worth year-over-year change: up US$7.05 billion in the last year

Zhang Zhidong, also known as Tony Zhang, is the co-founder of tech company Tencent Holdings, which provides applications for instant messaging, gaming and virtual payments. Among other things, the company owns Riot Games, developer of the global hit League of Legends. Tencent made US$54.6 billion in 2019. Zhang served as the company’s chief technology officer until he retired in 2014.

12. Takemitsu Takizaki

Keyence makes electric sensors for Volkswagen, among others. Photo: Bloomberg

Net worth: US$23.8 billion

Age: 75

Location: Japan

Industry: technology

Source of wealth: self-made; Keyence

Net worth year-over-year change: up US$3.02 billion in the last year

Takemitsu Takizaki founded Keyence, an Osaka-based company that makes electric sensors for vehicles, electronics firms and food packagers. Some of Keyence’s clients include Toyota, Toshiba and Volkswagen. Takizaki served as the company’s chairman until 2015 when he stepped down, but he remains on Keyence’s board.

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11. Pang Kang

Foshan products dominate the shelves in Chinese supermarkets. Photo: SCMP

Net worth: US$26.7 billion

Age: 62

Location: China

Industry: food and beverage

Source of wealth: self-made; Foshan Haitian Flavouring & Food

Net worth year-over-year change: up US$13.9 billion in the last year

Pang Kang runs the soy sauce supplier Foshan Haitian Flavouring & Food. Based in China’s Guangdong province, the food company made US$2.9 billion in 2019, just five years after going public. To give you an idea of its scale, Foshan Haitian makes more than 200 different condiments, including oyster sauce, vinegar and chicken stock.

10. He Xiangjian

He Xiangjian is the co-founder of Midea. Photo: Weibo

Net worth: US$27.6 billion

Age: 78

Location: China

Industry: consumer

Source of wealth: self-made; Midea Group

Net worth year-over-year change: up US$3.99 billion in the last year

He Xiangjian founded Midea Group, a company that exports air conditioners and produces appliances such as heaters and washing machines. He started the business in 1968 producing plastic lids and built it into one of the largest appliance companies in the world. He stepped down from Midea’s operations in 2012 and his son, He Jianfeng, now serves as one of Midea’s directors.

9. Hui Ka-yan

Hui Ka-yan, chairman of the board of China Evergrande Group. Photo: SCMP

Net worth: US$28.4 billion

Age: 62

Location: China

Industry: real estate

Source of wealth: self-made; China Evergrande Group

Net worth year-over-year change: down US$1.67 billion in the last year

Hui Ka-yan serves as chairman of China Evergrande Group, a property development company that builds in nearly 300 cities across China. Hui founded the company in 1996 after 10 years working in a steel factory. Impressively, Hui took the company public the following decade.

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8. Yang Huiyan

Asia’s richest woman Yang Huiyan is passionate about urban development and education. Photo: @ninhao_cursodechines/Instagram

Net worth: US$28.6 billion

Age: 38

Location: China

Industry: real estate

Source of wealth: inherited

Net worth year-over-year change: up US$1.71 billion in the last year

Yang Huiyan, the richest woman in Asia and only female on this list, inherited more than half of the stakes of her father’s real estate company, Country Garden Holdings.

Yang is currently running the company, which constructs buildings and manages hotels in China as well as Malaysia, including the 2,000-hectare (4,942-acre) Forest City in the country’s Iskandar Development Region. Not content running just one company, Yang also serves as chairwoman of education company Bright Scholar Education Holdings.

7. Li Ka-shing

Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing announced his retirement in March 2018 but remains an influential figure. Photo: Kyodo

Net worth: US$28.9 billion

Age: 92

Location: Hong Kong

Industry: real estate

Source of wealth: self-made; CK Hutchison Holdings

Net worth year-over-year change: down US$757 million in the last year

Li Ka-shing, the wealthiest person in Hong Kong, founded CK Hutchison Holdings, a vast business empire with five core businesses including ports, retail, infrastructure, energy and telecommunications. Li also created investment holding company CK Asset Holdings, geared towards his real estate services; a company known in the UK for buying the country’s largest pub retailer and brewer, Greene King, in October 2019.

He ran both companies until May 2018, when his son, Victor, took over as chairman. Last year CK Hutchinson made US$38 billion.

6. Tadashi Yanai

Tadashi Yanai, chairman, president and CEO of Fast Retailing Co. Ltd., is also founder of clothing brand Uniqlo. Photo: SCMP

Net worth: US$30.1 billion

Age: 71

Location: Japan

Industry: retail

Source of wealth: self-made; fast retailing

Net worth year-over-year change: down US$631 million in the last year

Tadashi Yanai is the richest person in Japan and runs Uniqlo’s parent company, Fast Retailing. Yanai is also the founder and biggest shareholder of the clothing retailer, which happens to be Asia’s largest, according to Yanai’s Bloomberg Billionaires profile. Fast Retailing operates and owns about 1,000 stores. What does he like to spend his money on? Yanai has a couple of golf courses in Maui, Hawaii.

5. William Ding Lei

William Ding Lei, founder and CEO of NetEase. Photo: Reuters

Net worth: US$30.2 billion

Age: 49

Location: China

Industry: technology

Source of wealth: self-made; NetEase

Net worth year-over-year change: up US$11.6 billion in the last year

William Ding founded NetEase back in 1997 and still runs the Beijing-based internet provider credited with localising popular games like World of Warcraft, Overwatch and Westward Journey. As a result, NetEase is one of the largest internet and video game companies in the world. Aside from gaming, NetEase is the largest provider of free email services in China, provides online tools such as the popular Youdao dictionary, and provides online video and music broadcasting services.

4. Colin Huang

Colin Huang founded the fastest growing tech company in history. Photo: Bloomberg

Net worth: US$31.4 billion

Age: 40

Location: China

Industry: technology

Source of wealth: self-made; Pinduoduo

Net worth year-over-year change: up US$11.8 billion in the last year

Colin Huang, also known as Huang Zheng, is the founder and chairman of one of China’s largest e-commerce companies, Pinduoduo. Only founded in 2015, the platform has more than 628 million customers and made US$4.2 billion in 2019, astonishing everyone with the speed of its rise. One of the platform’s defining features is its “team purchasing” model, which allows users to share details of the products they want to buy – be they groceries, clothes or home appliances – to corral friends and others to join them in buying the item to bag all of them a better deal.

Before running Pinduoduo, Huang interned at Microsoft and worked at Google, according to his Forbes profile. Huang also founded two other internet-based companies – Xinyoudi, a gaming business, and, another e-commerce platform.

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3. Pony Ma Huateng

Ma Huateng, chairman and chief executive officer of Tencent Holdings Ltd., otherwise known as Pony Ma. Photo: Bloomberg

Net worth: US$54.2 billion

Age: 48

Location: China

Industry: technology

Source of wealth: self-made; Tencent Holdings

Net worth year-over-year change: up US$15.6 billion in the last year

Pony Ma, also known as Ma Huateng, serves as chairman and CEO of Tencent Holdings, the tech company he co-founded alongside Zhang Zhidong, number 12 on this list. Tencent is best known for its instant messaging app WeChat, which has more than a billion users and has transformed the way people do everything in China, from buying cinema tickets to video conferencing, and is part of daily communications on the mainland. The company also has minority stakes in electric car maker Tesla and music-streaming service Spotify.

2. Jack Ma

Jack Ma, co-founder and former executive chairman of Alibaba Group, remains high on Asia’s richest list. Photo: EPA-EFE

Net worth: US$58.7 billion

Age: 55

Location: China

Industry: technology

Source of wealth: self-made; Alibaba Group

Net worth year-over-year change: up US$12.1 billion in the last year

Jack Ma, the richest person in China, co-founded Alibaba Group, the country’s largest e-commerce company. Ma served as the company’s executive chairman until he stepped down in 2019.

How did Alibaba make him so wealthy? Well, it runs Taobao, an online shopping site, and Tmall, an online store facilitator that are simply so popular, its annual transactions are in the trillions of yuan.

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During China’s midyear “618 shopping festival”, more than 300 celebrities including singers and actors joined live-streaming sessions on Taobao Live, and 600 company presidents used the platform to sell their products. As a result, Taobao hit 2 billion yuan (US$280 million) of sales in just the first 90 minutes after the festival officially launched.

Ma also owns stakes in two Chinese entertainment industry firms and an online payment service.

A former English teacher, he has recently been in the news because of his widespread donations to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

1. Mukesh Ambani

Mukesh Ambani used some of his wealth to buy a cricket team. Photo: @mukeshambaniofficial/Instagram

Net worth: US$81.5 billion

Age: 63

Location: India

Industry: energy

Source of wealth: inherited

Net worth year-over-year change: up US$22.9 billion in the last year

Mukesh Ambani, the richest person in India and eighth-richest on the planet, took over as chairman of Reliance Industries when his father, the company’s founder, died in 2002. The late Dhirubhai Ambani was a yarn trader and created Reliance in 1966 as a small textile manufacturer.

Today, Reliance Industries is a conglomerate featuring companies working across the energy, petrochemicals, textiles, natural resources, retail, and telecommunications industries. Ambani now owns 42 per cent of it, according to his Bloomberg Billionaires profile.

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Ambani also founded Jio, a popular 4G phone service. With so much money, you might wonder what he has decided to spend it on in his spare time. For one, he owns the Mumbai Indians, a professional cricket team, but perhaps his most extravagant purchase is his 27-storey home in India, which is conservatively worth US$1 billion and recognised as one of the most expensive in the world. Six floors are dedicated just to housing his cars.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider

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You may be surprised to learn the types of businesses that have made these individuals the richest in Asia – from pig farming and soy sauce production to computer games and chat apps