The chairman and co-founder of the parent company behind Shopee, Forrest Li, has become Singapore's richest person
According to a report by Bloomberg published yesterday, 31 August, the Sea Limited chief executive officer has become Singapore's richest person after its share price, listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), rose by 67% this year.
The China-born businessman, who is now a Singaporean citizen, has a net worth of USD19.8 billion (about RM82 billion).
Li outranked Singapore's former richest Goh Cheng Liang — a paint tycoon — who has a net worth of USD17.7 billion (about RM73 billion).
Yahoo! Finance reported that Sea Limited's share price has increased by 650% since the COVID-19 pandemic began affecting many countries in March 2020. In the past three years, its share price increased by 3,000%.
The rally of his company's share price throughout this period can be attributed to Li's quick surge in wealth.
Sea Limited is considered Southeast Asia's most valuable company. It went public on NYSE in October 2017.
The conglomerate started out as a gaming company under the name Garena in 2009 — which was famous for being a platform for gamers to play Defense Of The Ancient (DOTA) and Age Of Empires, among others.
Today, Sea Limited is an Internet consumer company based in Singapore that operates three businesses, namely Shopee, Garena, and SeaMoney.
The latter business is a digital payment service that was incepted in 2014. Bloomberg reported that Sea Limited is turning to fintech for further growth, especially after it won a digital banking licence in Singapore in December last year and acquired Indonesia's PT Bank Kesejahteraan Ekonomi.
Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Nathan Naidu said both moves "should allow the group to grow its SeaMoney business beyond payments to include lending, insurance, wealth management, and other financial services".
The fintech business brought USD 4.1 billion (about RM17 billion) in revenue for the group in the second quarter — a 150% increase from a year earlier.
Additionally, Sea Limited's recent success also comes from its gaming business. Its Garena mobile game Free Fire has exceeded one billion downloads on Google Play.
The Motley Fool reported that it is not only the highest-grossing mobile game in Southeast Asia, Latin America, and India, but also among the top battle royale games in the US for two consecutive quarters, beating out popular titles such as Call of Duty: Mobile and PUBG Mobile.
PUBG Mobile is developed and marketed by China's tech giant Tencent. The company is also a big investor in Sea Limited, holding about 20% of its share since 2017.
Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Nathan said Sea Limited is likely to see upward growth.
He explained that the demand for the company's services will persist even after the pandemic is over, especially with Shopee's expansion into Latin American markets.
He said that COVID-19 had warmed people up to digital services and consumers are not likely to give up the convenience offered.
Meanwhile, Malaysia's richest person is business magnate Robert Kuok, who is said to have a net worth of RM50.2 billion: