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Want Want chairman tops Taiwan rich list

TAIPEI--Tsai Eng-meng (蔡衍明), chairman and CEO of Want Want Holdings Ltd. (旺旺集團), was named as the richest person on Forbes magazine's list of the 40 richest Taiwanese for 2012.

The 55-year-old, who has a net fortune of US$8 billion, turned his family's small trading outfit into a food and beverage giant with US$2.9 billion in revenue, according to the magazine.

In addition, the magazine added that Tsai has investments in the real estate, insurance and financial sectors, as well as burgeoning media empires in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Earlier in September, Want Want Group financed NT$5 million (US$17,045) to subsidize the fuel costs of the Taiwanese fishing boats that sailed to the disputed Diaoyutai Islands to protest Japan's nationalization of the island chain.

Wei Ing-chou and his three brothers who head Ting Hsin International Group collectively came in second on the list with a combined net worth of US$6.6 billion.

Tsai Wan-tsai, founder of Fubon Financial Group, and his family have a fortune of US$6.2 billion and took third place, followed by Terry Gou, chairman of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. and Foxconn Corp, with a net worth of US$4.8 billion.

Cher Wang, chairwoman of smartphone maker HTC Corp., and her husband Chen Wen-chi took the eighth place on the list with a combined net worth of US$3.05 billion.

Wang is the richest woman in Taiwan, with a fortune that surpasses that of her uncle Wang Yung-tsai (US$2.9 billion), co-founder of the Formosa Plastics Group, who was named the 10th richest individual in Taiwan.

As the result of the current global economic down cycle, China's top 100 fortunes have seen their total assets shrink by 7 percent to U$220 billion from last year, the magazine said.

Zong Qinghou, chairman of Chinese beverage giant Wahaha who has a net worth totaling US$10 billion, returned to the top place after taking the spot in 2010.

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