India is home to over four per cent of the world’s billionaires, including the likes of Ambani brothers, Azim Premji and N R Narayan Murthy alongside Warren Buffet and Bill Gates in Forbes magazine’s annual list of the world’s richest people.
Forbes’s list of 1,226 billionaires is topped by Mexico’s 72-year-old telecom czar Carlos Slim, boasting of a networth of $ 69 billion.
Mr. Slim retained his title as the world’s richest man for the third year in a row. In the second spot is Microsoft founder Gates with a $ 61 billion networth followed by American investment giant and philanthropist Buffet whose networth is $ 44 billion.
Forbes said this year’s 1,226 billionaires are a record high, up one per cent from last year’s total. The numbers are up significantly from the 140 billionaires who had made the cut when the list was first released 25 years ago.
Between them, this year’s billionaires are worth a record $ 4.6 trillion and have an average net worth of $ 3.7 billion.
The list has 48 billionaires from India as well as nine of Indian-origin living in countries like Indonesia, Ireland, Thailand, UK and the US, taking the total number of billionaires hailing from India to 57. India’s 48 billionaires have a total networth of $ 194.6 billion.
Among India’s billionaires, the richest is Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani with a networth of $ 22.3 billion. The 54-year-old is ranked 19 in the global rich list.
“Mr. Mukesh Ambani is the world’s richest Indian, despite losing $ 4.7 billion in the past year,” Forbes said.
The publication added that a spat between Ambani’s oil and gas conglomerate Reliance and India’s Oil Ministry over declining output at KG-D6, India’s largest offshore gas field, has dragged down the market cap of the country’s most valuable company.
ArcelorMittal Chairman Lakshmi Mittal comes second with a $ 20.7 billion networth. Forbes said Mr. Mittal lost $ 10.4 billion in the past year, more than anyone else in the world and dropped out of the top 10 rankings for the first time since 2004.
Mr. Mittal had ranked sixth in last year’s list when his networth was $ 31.1 billion. Shares of ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker, tanked due to surging costs and tepid demand in Europe, Forbes said.
Wipro boss Azim Premji is the third richest Indian in the list. With a networth of $ 15.9 billion, 66-year-old Mr. Premji is ranked 41 on the Forbes list.
The list has only two women billionaires from India, both matriarchs of big corporate houses. Jindal group’s Savitri Jindal is ranked 80 in the rich list with a networth of $ 10.9 billion. Chair of the media group Bennett Coleman Indu Jain, 75, is ranked 578th in the Forbes list with a networth of $ 2.2 billion.
With an $ 8.1 billion networth, Bharti Entreprises chairman Sunil Mittal is ranked 113. Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group chairman Anil Ambani comes in at the 118th position in the list, his networth of $ 7.8 billion, only about a third of that of his wealthier elder brother.
“Despite patch up with brother Mukesh that included a much photographed reunion in their late father’s hometown, Mr. Anil Ambani continues on a losing streak, down one billion dollars in past year and down $ 34.2 billion from his 2008 peak,” Forbes said.
Other billionaires from India include real estate major DLF chief K P Singh ($ 6.4 billion), IT company HCL’s Shiv Nadar ($ five billion), healthcare tycoons Malvinder and Shivinder Singh ($ 3.5 billion), Godrej group chairman Adi Godrej ($ 2.4 billion), Chairman of the Bajaj group conglomerate Rahul Bajaj ($ 1.8 billion) and Infosys co-founder N R Narayan Murthy and his family ($ 1.7 billion).
With a networth of $ 1.4 billion, former Infosys chief executive Nandan Nilekani, pharma tycoons Ajay Piramal and K Anji Reddy and head of the Avantha group Gautum Thapar are tied for the 913rd rank. Investment bigwig Rakesh Jhunjhunwala occupies the 1,075th rank with $ 1.1 billion of networth. Tied for the 1,153th rank is liqour baron Vijay Mallya and Spice group chief Bhupinder Kumar Modi with networth of a billion dollars each.
Also in the list is construction tycoon Pallonji Mistry, an Irish citizen, who with a networth of $ 9.7 billion is ranked 96th. Mistry’s younger son Cyrus has been anointed successor to Tata group Chief Ratan Tata when he retires in December. Incidentally, like last year, Tata is not on the rich list this year.
Among the Indians, who are based outside their native country and have been named in the Forbes list, is venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, whom Forbes calls the “rare Silicon Valley venture capitalist able to generate profits from a clean tech portfolio.”
The IIT and Stanford University alumnus has a networth of $ 1.3 billion and is ranked 960. California-based Kavitark .
“Ram” Shriram, the founding board member of Google and one of the first investors in Google, comes in at rank 804. A trustee at Stanford University, Mr. Shriram’s networth is $ 1.6 billion.
India-born, Indonesian citizen Sri Prakash Lohia and his brother Thai resident Aloke Lohia are ranked 634 and 683 respectively in the list. They are two of three brothers whose fortune spans India, Thailand and Indonesia through the Indorama group of companies involved in textiles, polyester and plastics. Between them, the networth of the two brothers is $ four billion.
Software guru Romesh Wadhwani ranks 634 in the list with a networth of $ two billion. Based in California, the IIT Mumbai alumnus heads Symphony Technology Group which is focused on building software and services companies.
This year there were 128 new additions to the Forbes billionaire list, while 117 dropped off. The US retained its position as the global epicenter of wealth, boasting of being home to 425 billionaires, including Oracle’s Larry Elison who had a networth of $ 36 billion.
Among the American billionaires are New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg ($ 22 billion), Google’s founders Sergey Brin and Larry page ($ 18.7 billion), Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg ($ 17.5 billion), News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch ($ 8.3 billion) and fashion czar Ralph Lauren ($ 7.5 billion).