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This story is part of Forbes’ coverage of Taiwan’s Richest 2022. See the full list here.
With the Omicron outbreak in the region disrupting production and supply chains, the benchmark Taiex index fell 3% over the past 12 months. Still, strong tech exports and a revival in domestic demand boosted Taiwan’s economy by 6.3% in 2021, the biggest gain in a decade. The collective wealth of Taiwan’s 50 richest rose to $158 billion from $149 billion last year.
Footwear magnate Zhang Congyuan, who debuted last year following the 2021 IPO of his Huali Industrial Group, retained the top spot. But Zhang’s net worth shrank 12% to $12.1 billion as the Zhongshan, Guangdong-based company faced logistics challenges brought on by Covid-19.
As their Cathay Financial Holding posted record net income of $4.9 billion for 2021, brothers Tsai Hong-tu & Cheng-ta remained at No. 2 with $10.5 billion, up 14% from last year. Another pair of finance tycoons, brothers Daniel & Richard Tsai of Fubon Financial Holding, kept the third place with $9.6 billion, thanks to their company’s stellar performance in stock and bond investments.
Soaring prices of chemicals boosted the wealth of two of this year’s big dollar gainers. The net worth of Lin Shu-hong, cofounder of petrochemical conglomerate Chang Chun Group, surged $2.1 billion to $6.9 billion. Siblings Tseng Cheng & Sing-ai, whose late father Tseng Shin-yi was another cofounder of Chang Chun, lifted their combined wealth by $1.65 billion, to $4.3 billion.
Amid the global shipping boom, the three Chang brothers—Kuo-Hua, Kuo-Ming and Kuo-Cheng (sons of Evergreen Marine’s late founder Chang Yung Fa), returned to the list at No. 11 with $5.3 billion.
Rising shares of Kinglai Hygienic Materials, a maker of stainless steel components used in ultra-clean manufacturing processes such as in semiconductors and vaccines, propelled founder Li Shui-po, the sole new face this year, to No. 50 with $765 million.
Tony Chen and Scott Lin, cofounders of Largan Precision, a lens supplier to Apple, were down the most in percentage terms. A sluggish mainland China market for smartphones and supply chain obstacles dragged down Chen’s wealth by 47% to $850 million; Lin’s dipped 46% to $1.1 billion.
Three dropped off this year including restaurant tycoon Ho Kuang-chi, whose mainland China-focused hotpot chain Xiabuxiabu recorded its first annual loss last year since it went public in 2014.
Editing assistance and reporting by Anuradha Raghunathan. Additional reporting by Angel Au-Yeung, Shu-Ching Jean Chen, Gloria Haraito, Eunice Lam, Jessica Tan and Yue Wang.
The list was compiled using information from individuals, analysts, government agencies, stock exchanges, databases and other sources. Net worths were based on stock prices and exchange rates as of the close of markets on Apr. 15 and real-time net worths on Forbes.com may reflect different valuations. Private companies were valued by using financial ratios and other comparisons with similar companies that are publicly traded. The estimates include a spouse’s wealth and, where the person is the company founder, also include the wealth of children and siblings that is derived from that company. The list can also include foreign citizens with business, residential or other ties to the city, or citizens who don’t reside in the city but have significant business or other ties to the city. The editors reserve the right to amend any information or remove any listees in light of new information.