Southeast Asia now has more billionaires than ever, as the region continues to grow at a fast pace. Like wealthy individuals everywhere, Southeast Asian billionaires are politically connected, trying to influence their home economies, and are pushing their influence beyond the region. As they have been making a lot of waves in recent months, we examine their actions by the numbers.
The average age of billionaires in Malaysia, which has the oldest billionaires in Southeast Asia, according to Forbes’ 2013 Billionaires List. Indonesian billionaires are somewhat younger at 66, while the average is 63.2 years for Singapore and 65 for Thailand. Comparatively, the U.S. average was 66 years in 2011, though 11 billionaires on the under-40 list hail from the United States
The offer made in cash by Indonesia’s fifth-richest man Chairul Tanjung, to purchase Visi Media Asia, a telecommunications company controlled by the politically-connected Bakrie family. Tanjung owns CT Corp, which already controls two local TV stations. Hary Tanoesoedibjo, another Indonesian billionaire who owns the media company MNCGroup, is also bidding for Visi Media.
The age of multi-billion dollar conglomerate Fraser and Neave (F&N) that Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi won control of in January. Charoen’s TCC Company outmaneuvered Overseas Union Enterprise, controlled by Indonesia’s Riady family, for control of F&N. F&N is involved in various economic sectors, including food and beverage, brewing, property, and publishing.
The year Abdul Taib Mahmud of Sarawak, Malaysia, first took office as chief minister of the state. Taib is worth an estimated $21 billion and is notably absent from the Forbes list. He is under fire for abusing his power over forest licensing concessions to enrich his family after a covert investigation video by Global Witness surfaced in March.
The amount the Philippines’ richest man, Henry Sy, agreed to invest in a Manila casino project. The Philippines’ third-richest man, Enrique Razon Jr., also recently opened the country’s first high-end casino resort, Solaire.
The year the number of billionaires in Indonesia surpassed the number in Japan. Indonesia had 32 billionaires in 2012, while Japan had 28.