Haidilao founder Zhang Yong's net worth drops from S$18.6 billion in 2019 to S$11.7 billion in Nov. 2021


Ashley Tan | November 10, 2021, 05:50 PM

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The founder of Haidilao, Zhang Yong, was considered the richest man in Singapore in 2019.

Zhang, who is a naturalised Singapore citizen and resident, took the top spot in the 2019 Forbes Singapore Rich List with a net worth of US$13.8 billion (S$18.6 billion with the current exchange rate).

Two years and a pandemic later, the 51-year-old's net worth has dipped to US$8.6 billion (S$11.7 billion) as of Nov. 10, 2021, according to Forbes.

Nevertheless, Zhang and his wife, Shu Ping, co-founder and director of Haidilao, are still the fourth-richest people in Singapore in 2021.

Meanwhile, Zhang is also currently ranked 75 in Forbes' list of Billionaires 2021.

Haidilao stores underperforming

The drop in Zhang's net worth could be linked to the poor performance of many Haidilao stores overseas.

A few days ago, the hotpot chain announced that it will be closing or suspending 300 underperforming stores by the end of the year.

The company said on its Weibo that it had expanded too quickly and aggressively in 2019, which led to poor performance at its stores.

Forbes reported that it had opened 544 new outlets in 2020 alone.

Zhang had also told Forbes in a separate interview that it is "better to scale fast and be everywhere instead of having a single towering presence".

Haidilao revealed that some of the reasons for the mass closure of its outlets include poorly chosen store locations, different levels of management being unable to understand or cope with organisational structure changes, not having enough good restaurant managers, and too much focus placed on hitting KPIs, instead of fostering company culture.

The affected stores are mainly in China.

However Haidilao shared that some stores may reopen within two years. Additionally, it will not retrench any of its staff and will instead reassign them to different positions elsewhere in the company.

More Haidilao in Singapore

Despite these closures, Haidilao has still been expanding in Singapore.

It's most recent outlet was at JCube, spanning the area of six units.

In 2021 alone, the restaurant chain has opened three other outlets at Marina Bay Sands, Wisma Atria, and City Square Mall.

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Top photo from Zhang Yong / FB and Haidilao Singapore