Name:

Wee Cho Yaw

Date of Birth:

10th January 1929

Country of Birth:

China

Country of Residence:

Singapore

Source of Wealth:

Banking

Marital Status:

Married to Chuang Yong Eng

Children:

5

Wee Cho Yaw Net Worth USD: $6,460,000,000 - $7,140,000,000

2020 Estimate:

$6,800,000,000

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Wee Cho Yaw Biography

Wee’s early life was very much disrupted by global and political events. In 1937, along with his family, he fled to Borneo and then onto Singapore, to escape the Sino-Japanese War. Then when the Japanese invaded Singapore, the family again moved, this time to Karimun in Indonesia. When it was safe, they returned to Singapore, and after being pulled out of school by his father, Wee Kheng Chiang, a millionaire Hokkien businessman, he began working at Kheng Leong. The family owned company traded in-demand commodities including rubber, and under his father he learnt not only how to be successful in business, but also gained many crucial contacts.

In 1958 he was made a director of the United Chinese Bank (UCB), becoming the youngest in the history of the bank his father had founded, becoming managing director when his father stepped down just two years later. His first move was to expand its dealings from purely local ones, to foreign exchange and international trade. When they applied to open a branch in Hong Kong, to avoid a clash of names, Wee changed the bank’s name to United Overseas Bank (UOB).

Under his guidance the bank went from strength to strength, going public in 1970, and over the subsequent decades taking over other banks, and moving into stocks, trading and property, among other industries. Wee stepped down from his role of CEO in 2007, remaining on as chairman, his role taken over by his oldest son Ee Cheong.

Wee Cho Yaw set up the Wee Foundation in 2009, focussing promoting Chinese culture and language as well as funding the welfare and education for the under-privileged.