There are now 209 Indian-origin billionaires, of which 177 are Indian residents. The total list, which continues to be topped by Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani, has 50 fresh additions and 10 dropouts. The additions include Arvindkumar Poddar of Balkrishna Industries, Bawri family of Macleods Pharmaceuticals, B Parthasaradhi Reddy of Hetero Drugs, Nikhil Kamath of Zerodha, Pankaj Munjal of Hero Cycles and T S Kalyanaraman of Kalyan Jewellers. The prominent dropouts are B R Shetty from UAE, Ritesh Agarwal of Oyo Rooms and Kishore Biyani of Future Group.
Ambani, 63, who strung a slew of investment deals into his telecom business, saw his wealth surge 24% to $83 billion. Reliance, India’s largest exporter, accounts for 8% of the country’s exports and 5% of India’s total revenues from customs and excise duty. Adani saw his wealth almost double to $32 billion on the back of Adani Green Energy growing to a $20-billion valuation.
“Despite the disruption caused by Covid-19, this year has seen the biggest wealth increase of the last decade,” said Hurun Report chairman and chief researcher Rupert Hoogewerf. “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,” he added.
The rise in wealth of the rich has been on the back of rise in value of financial assets — shareholdings in the companies they own. The Nasdaq was up 42% last year followed by China’s Shenzhen (40%), sensex (23.4%) and Japan’s Nikkei (22.9%). China added 256 new billionaires to become the first country in the world to top 1,000 ‘known’ dollar billionaires with 1,056, more than the combined total of the next three countries of the US, India and Germany. In the last five years, China has added 490 billionaires, compared with 160 in the US.
“Asia has, for the first time in perhaps hundreds of years, more billionaires than the rest of the world combined. Wealth creation is moving to Asia,” Hoogewerf said. He added that electric vehicles, e-commerce, blockchain and biotech have been the fastest growing industries of the past year.
World’s richest person is Elon Musk who, with a wealth of $197 billion, is also new to the top-10 list. Jeff Bezos with $189 billion has moved to the second spot, while luxury giant Bernard Arnault of LVMH with $114 billion is at third place ahead of Bill Gates ($110 billion) and Mark Zuckerberg ($101 billion). An outlier in terms of sector is the ‘Bottled Water King’ Zhong Shanshan, 67, who became the first Chinese to break into the Hurun Global Rich List Top 10 with a personal fortune of $85 billion. This followed bottled water Nongfu Spring’s Hong Kong IPO last September.