Want Want's Tsai ranks as richest man in Taiwan

Tsai Eng-meng (蔡衍明), head of food conglomerate Want Want Group (旺旺集團), retained the title as the richest person in Taiwan, according to the list of the world's billionaires for 2016 released by Forbes magazine.

While Tsai continued to be the wealthiest person in Taiwan, his net worth fell to US$6 billion from US$8.9 billion in 2015.

Analysts said the decline of Tsai's wealth reflected an economic slowdown in China, where many Taiwanese entrepreneurs including Tsai have invested heavily.

Tsai was ranked 201st on the latest global billionaire list, down from 147th a year earlier.

Forbes said Tsai transformed his father's small trading firm I Lan Foods Industrial into snack food giant Want Want China, which sells beverages and snack items ranging from rice crackers to spicy peanuts.

Tsai has also diversified his business into other industries, including the financial and media sectors.

Terry Gou (郭台銘), founder and chairman of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (鴻海), came in second among the Taiwanese on the 2016 list, unchanged from a year earlier, though his net worth fell to US$5.6 billion from US$6.1 billion.

Gou ranked 228th on the Forbes list, up from 240th in 2015.

Hon Hai, also known as Foxconn outside Taiwan, is the world's largest contract electronics maker whose main client is Apple Inc.

A total of 25 Taiwanese entrepreneurs made it onto Forbes' list of 1,810 billionaires, down from 38 in 2015, according to Forbes.

The leading Taiwanese on the list after Tsai and Gou was Lin Yu-lin (林堉璘), head of property developer Hong Tai Group (宏泰集團), with US$5 billion in net worth, ranking him 270th in the world.

Barry Lam (林百里), chairman of the world's largest notebook computer contract maker Quanta Computer Inc. (廣達), came in fourth among Taiwanese and 549th globally with a net worth totaling US$3.1 billion.

Luo Jye (羅結), chairman of Cheng Shin Rubber Ind. Co. (正新輪胎), was ranked fifth among Taiwanese and 569th in the world on the Forbes billionaire list with a net worth of US$3 billion.

Samuel Yin (尹衍樑) of conglomerate Ruentex Group (潤泰集團) came in sixth among Taiwanese (666th globally) with US$2.6 billion in net worth, followed by Fubon Financial Holding Co. (富邦金) Chairman Daniel Tsai (蔡明忠) (722nd in the world) with US$2.4 billion in net worth, tied with his brother Richard Tsai (蔡明興), who is the vice chairman of Fubon Financial.

Rounding out the Taiwan top 10, T.Y. Tsai (蔡震宇), head of property developer Homax Equity (寶豐隆), was ninth in Taiwan and 906th in the world with a net worth totaling US$2 billion, ahead of Pierre T.M. Chen (陳泰銘), chairman of electronics component firm Yageo Corp. (國巨) (959th in the world), with a net worth of US$1.9 billion.

(By Hsu Jui-cheng and Frances Huang)