5 Chinese Billionaires Who Moved to Singapore

Singapore has been a top choice for ultra high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) from all over the world to move to, especially those from China. Due to Singapore’s ethnic Chinese majority, the tiny city state has similar cultures to those from mainland China in terms of language, food, and festivities. 

  1. Li Xiting

Born in Dangshan County in Suzhou, Anhui, China, Li Xiting grew up in a rural village. He graduated from the University of Science and Technology of China with a bachelor’s degree in low temperature physics. 

In 1991, he founded medical equipment manufacturer Mindray in Shenzhen with Xu Hang and Cheng Minghe. The company designs and produces medical equipment and accessories for both human and veterinary use. In 2006, the company was listed on the New York Stock Exchange, raising US$270 million. However, 10 years later, Xiting and the other two co-founders of Mindray took the company private in a US$1.9 billion deal. 

He later moved to Singapore and became a naturalised citizen in 2018. During the recent Covid-19 pandemic, his net worth increased US$1 billion every month as Mindray’s stock price increased due to high demand for ventilators. He is now SIngapore’s richest person with a net worth of USD$21.5 billion.

  1. Zhang Yong & Shu Ping

Zhang Yong and Shu Ping are founders of the popular hotpot restaurant chain, Hai Di Lao. By the end of 2018, there were 466 direct-operated stores in operation in more than 100 cities across Asia, Canada and America. 

Without finishing his education, Zhang Yong started his career working as a welder. In 1994, he quit his job and opened a restaurant with 4 tables. This restaurant, the early stage of Hai Di Lao, was co-founded by 3 other people, including his then-girlfriend, Shu Ping, who is now his wife. These 3 people were the first investors of Hai Di Lao.

In 2012, Hai Di Lao opened its first overseas outlet in Singapore at Clarke Quay. In 2013, the restaurant opened its first outlet in LA, California, USA. In 2018, Hai Di Lao filed for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange to raise USD$700 million for expansion. 

In 2018, Zhang and his family moved to Singapore and later became a naturalised citizen.

  1. Forrest Li & Gang Ye

Forrest Li and Gang Ye are the co-founders of Sea, previously Garena, an online gaming and e-commerce firm. 

Born in Tianjin, China, Forrest Li did not come from a wealthy family. However, he got a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering from Shanghai Jiaotong University, and an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and his student loans amounted to $100,000. Together with his wife, he used to rent and live in a single bedroom within a three-room public housing HDB flat in Singapore where he later took up citizenship in. 

Also born in China, Gang Ye moved to Singapore in his teenage years. Holding 2 Bachelor of Science degrees, in Computer Science and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, he had previously worked at Wilmar International and the Economic Development Board of Singapore. 

In 2009, both Forrest Li and Gang Ye started Garena, together with another co-founder, David Chen. In November 2019, all of their networth increased tremendously after shares of Sea Group reached an all-time high. Forrest Li and Gang Ye became billionaires


All of these billionaires did not grow with wealth, in fact, far from it. However, with sheer determination, their business ventures became successful. 

While Li Xiting, Zhang Yong, and Shu Ping started their businesses in China before opening branches in Singapore, Forrest Li and Gang Ye started their business in Singapore, so it is not a matter of the location where a business was started in. We are living in a global market and to expand businesses internationally, there needs to be a good strategy, sound infrastructure, and talented personnel to drive such business outcomes.

One of the good strategies is to take advantage of attractive financial benefits such as tax rebates, availability of capital funding, and international and regional networks. Singapore is the perfect country for business owners to do business in and expand globally. 

For advice on business incorporation in Singapore, call Immigration@SG at +65 6493 1830. Immigration@SG helps business owners set up companies in Singapore, including bank accounts set up, submit documents to government agencies, and assign local nominee directors. They can also help with Work Pass applications for you, your family, and employees.