Google searches surge for Singapore’s new leader-in-waiting

·1-min read
(PHOTO: Bloomberg)
(PHOTO: Bloomberg)

By Low De Wei and Marcus Li

(Bloomberg) —Singapore Finance Minister Lawrence Wong became the most Googled person in the city-state last week, when he was chosen by his peers to lead the nation after current premier Lee Hsien Loong.

Lee last week announced that 49-year-old Wong had been chosen as the new leader of the so-called fourth generation team, paving the way for him to become the next prime minister, Singapore’s fourth since independence in 1965.

Local searches for Wong on Alphabet Inc’s Google search engine surged, topping more than 50,000 on April 14, the day the selection was announced, according to data from Google trends. This made him the most-searched figure within the Southeast Asian nation for the week ending April 17.

While Wong has become a familiar political face as a co-leader of the country’s Covid pandemic task force and after unveiling his first budget in February, interest primarily centered on his less public personal life. Top local searches related to his wife and family background, according to data from search traffic aggregator Semrush. Top search topics reflect estimates and may not fully reflect actual queries.

In 2013, Wong told local newspaper The Straits Times that he had divorced “amicably” with his wife of three years due to “incompatibility” after getting married at 28. These details have not been independently verified by Bloomberg News.

Also attracting searchers’ interest were comparisons between Wong and Ong Ye Kung, the country’s Health Minister, who was also seen as a leading contender for the top job.

Singapore’s current leader Lee said Saturday that no time line for Wong to take over had been determined.

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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