In 2020, world added 3 billionaires every two days, India added one every week

Despite COVID-19, 2020 has seen the biggest wealth increase of the last decade

Updated - March 03, 2021 10:04 am IST

Published - March 02, 2021 01:32 pm IST - Mumbai

Industrilaists Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani. File

Industrilaists Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani. File

The world added 607 new billionaires or more than three billionaires in two days, while India added 55 new billionaires or one billionaire every week in 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic , as per the 10th Edition of Hurun Global Rich List 2021 released on Tuesday.

Also read:Indian billionaires increased their wealth by 35% during the lockdown, says Oxfam report

Tesla’s Elon Musk added $151 billion to become the richest man in the world for the first time with net worth of $197 billion, followed by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos with $189 billion in net worth, the Chairman and CEO of LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton Bernard Arnault ($114 billion), Microsoft’s Bill Gates ($110 billion) and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg ($101 billion).

Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani, who emerged as the richest man in India with net worth of $83 billion, came in at number eight in the global rich list 2021.

“Despite the disruption caused by COVID-19, this year has seen the biggest wealth increase of the last decade. A stock markets boom, driven partly by quantitative easing, and flurry of new listings have minted eight new dollar billionaires a week for the past year. The world has never seen this much wealth created in just one year, much more than perhaps could have been expected for a year so badly disrupted by COVID-19,” Hurun Report chairman and chief researcher Rupert Hoogewerf said.

The total number of billionaires globally increased to a record 3,288 in 2020, an increase of 421 billionaires during the year. “Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the total wealth of all billionaires across the globe surged 32% during the period under review to $14.7 trillion,” the Hurun Report said.

India retained the third spot in number of billionaires from a country with a total of 177 billionaires living in the country. “China has pulled away big time from the U.S.A. in the past year, adding 259 to 1,058 to become the first country in the world to top 1,000 ‘known’ dollar billionaires. The U.S.A. is second with 696 billionaires, up 70. Between the ‘Big Two’, China and the USA have 54% of the ‘known’ billionaires on the planet. India added 40 to solidify its third place, followed by Germany, the U.K., and Switzerland, each with more than 100 ‘known’ billionaires.” it added.

In the list of Indian billionaires, Mr Ambani was followed by Adani Group’s Gautam Adani & family with his wealth nearly doubling to $32 billion, HCL’s Shiv Nadar & family with net worth of $27 billion, ArcelorMittal’s Lakshmi Mittal ($19 billion), Serum Institutes Cyrus Poonawalla ($18.5 billion), Hinduja Group’s Hinduja Brothers ($18 billion), Kotak Mahindra Bank’s Uday Kotak ($15 billion), Avenue Supermarts’ Radhakishan Damani & family ($14.5 billion), Zscaler’s Jay Chaudhry ($13 billion) and Sun Pharmaceutical’s Dilip Shanghvi and family ($12.5 billion).

Notably, scandal hit B.R. Shetty lost his billionaire status for the first time, as did OYO’s Ritesh Aggarwal following the impact of COVID-19, Future Retail’s Kishore Biyani and Rajesh Mehta of Rajesh Exports.

“Indian wealth creation is dominated by cyclical/traditional industries compared to tech driven wealth creation in the U.S.A. and China. When the tech driven wealth creation reached full potential, India could potentially beat the U.S.A. in terms of the number of billionaires,” Anas Rahman Junaid, MD and Chief Researcher, Hurun India, said.

The report also noted that Mumbai is home to the highest number of billionaires in India with 60 billionaires, followed by New Delhi (40) and Bengaluru (22).

The Hurun Global Rich List 2021 ranked 3228 billionaires from 2402 companies and 68 countries. Overall, while 2312 saw their wealth increase, 635 saw their wealth decrease, there were 194 drop-offs, 32 died and 282 saw their wealth stay the same, it said.

Mr Hoogewerf added, “The speed of wealth creation is nothing short of staggering.  Three individuals added more than $50 billion in a single year, led by Elon Musk with $151 billion, on the back of the rise of e-cars, whilst e-commerce billionaires Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Colin Huang of Pinduoduo added $50 billion each. At this rate, expect to see fifty or more break through the $100 billion mark within the next five years.”

It added that first generation immigrant billionaires are on the rise, accounting for 14% of the list, up from 11% last year. The countries with the most first-generation immigrant billionaires are the U.S., U.K., Switzerland, Singapore and Russia.

“Billionaires are not keeping up with philanthropy, making money much faster than they are giving it away,” Mr Hoogewerf said.

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