THE Republic's billionaires club has expanded to 26 this year, up from 21 in 2013, going by the latest Forbes Singapore rich list.

The combined net worth of Singapore's 50 wealthiest now stands at US$96.9 billion, a significant increase from the previous year's US$80 billion.

Property magnates Robert and Philip Ng continue to top the list, even adding US$2.2 billion to their wealth amid an expansion of their property empire to Australia. Their net wealth this year is US$12.8 billion.

The brothers own hotel and mall conglomerate Far East Organization and Sino Land.

Kwek Leng Beng, chairman of City Developments, and his family, remain in the No 2 spot with a net worth of US$7.8 billion, up from US$7.1 billion previously.

In third place is the Khoo family of Goodwood Group of Hotels, which added US$300 million to their coffers and retained the position with US$7 billion in net wealth.

There were seven newcomers to this year's list, including the Tay family (Ranked 25, US$1.1 billion) who are best known for the chain of affordable OG department stores.

Property magnate Chua Thian Poh (Ranked 23), whose Ho Bee Land spent US$400 million buying commercial property in London, enters billionaire ranks for the first time with a net worth of US$1.25 billion.

There were two newcomers after taking their companies public. They are Lim Chap Huat (Ranked 31, US$890 million) of property group Soilbuild and shipping veteran Pang Yoke Min (Ranked 41, US$655 million) of Pacific Radiance, an offshore vessel supplier.

A total of seven tycoons dropped off the list from 2013 and they include property developer Simon Cheong and hotelier Ho Kwon Ping, partly because the minimum net worth of US$450 million is up 48 per cent from a year ago.

The list was compiled using shareholding and financial information obtained from the families and individuals, stock exchanges, analysts and other sources. Unlike the Forbes billionaire rankings, this list includes family fortunes, including those shared among extended families such as that of Kwek Leng Beng and his cousins, said Forbes.