(Yicai Global) Aug. 29 -- Zhang Yong, one of the founders of popular Chinese hotpot chain Haidilao, has debuted at No. 1 in the 2019 Forbes Singapore Rich List.
The president of Haidilao International Holding is worth USD13.8 billion, according to the wealth rankings Forbes Asia released today. Zhang and his wife, both now citizens of Singapore, own about 68.6 percent of the company they set up in 1994.
Zhang's inclusion in this year's list was a big reason why the combined wealth of Singapore's 50 richest gained 12 percent to USD130 billion, Forbes Asia said, despite the island state forecasting flat economic growth this year and as its stock market tumbled 3.5 percent over the past year.
Net profit at Haidilao, renowned for its spicy dishes and superlative customer service, jumped 41 percent to CNY911 million (USD127.4 million) in the first half from a year earlier, according to the Sichuan-based company's latest earnings report. Operating revenue surged 59.3 percent to almost CNY11.7 billion (USD1.64 billion).
Shares of Haidilao [HKG:6862] closed 2.9 percent higher today at HKD37.25 (USD4.70) each. Their value has more than doubled so far this year.
Haidilao's restaurant chain, which covers China and has outposts in the US, UK, Japan, South Korea and Singapore, expanded to 593 eateries at the end of last year after the firm opened 130 in the first half of 2018. With an average table turnover rate of 4.8 times a day, it had served 109 million customers as of June 30 this year.