June 21, 2019 | 02:29 AM

Millionaire Mindset

26.05.2011Taiwan's 40 Richest

Taiwan is on an upswing. Among the beneficiaries: members of the 2011 Taiwan rich list.


Taiwan is on an upswing. Its economy surged 10.5% last year, and its stock market jumped 22% since last June amid optimism that the global economic recovery is on track. Among the beneficiaries: members of the 2011 Taiwan rich list. The collective wealth of the richest 40 tycoons increased to $92.7 billion from $70 billion last year—outpacing the previous record of $77 billion set in 2008.

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The ever-tighter business relationship between the two countries was codified anew last July with the signing of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, a pact that lowered business barriers. Direct flights between Taiwan and China, banned on security grounds only a few years ago, now exceed dozens per day. Travel may be loosened further this summer when individual Chinese visitors are expected to be allowed to visit the island for the first time, a move that would benefit Taiwan’s airlines, hotels, and retailers.

Our new No. 1 is a couple, Cher Wang and Wenchi Chen. Wang chairs smartphone maker HTC, which is winning the bet it took in 2006 to produce its own brand of phones at the risk of losing some of its contract manufacturing clients. The couple’s wealth stands at $8.8 billion, up from $2.1 billion a year ago. The mobile-gadget boom also lifted the wealth of Taiwanese suppliers to red-hot Apple. Among them is this year’s No. 32, Allen Horng, the chairman of Catcher Technology, whose shares have risen 135% since last year’s list. Strong orders for his touchscreens for iPods helped Michael Chiang of TPK Holdings debut at $2 billion this year. Terry Gou, last year’s No. 1, saw his fortune slip $300 million amid rising costs and a pall over his Hon Hai Precision after a spate of employee suicides.

Leaders of businesses with close ties to China’s booming domestic market also stand out. The wealth of Tsai Eng-Meng, chairman of snack-food maker Want Want, climbed to $6.1 billion from $5.3 billion. The Wei family, a big shareholder in Hong Kong-listed food and beverage supplier Tingyi, saw its wealth rise 26% to $5.7 billion.

Many of the fortunes listed here are shared among a number of family members. Usually the wealth is spread across a nuclear family, but in the case of Wei Ing-Chou, the fortune is shared among 4 adult brothers and their offspring.

Up or down arrows indicate how each list member’s fortune has changed in size from the 2010 ranking; new members are indicated by a star and returnees to the list –those who were on in previous years but not in 2010 – are marked with a curved arrow. This year we also have some family members –the Tsai brothers of Cathay Financial — who were previously grouped as one fortune, but went separate ways; the fact that the fortune is now split among family members is marked with a forward slash.

The minimum needed to make the list increased to $930 million from $675 million a year ago. Among those who didn’t make the cut in 2011: Ruby Ma, whose Yuanta Securities didn’t keep pace with others’ growth.

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