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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

HURUN GLOBAL RICH LIST 2020: BEZOS RETAINS TOP SLOT; MUKESH AMBANI AT No. 9

Interestingly, Indian billionaires grow in numbers and wealth despite economic slowdown.

For the third year running, Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, 56, has held on to the top spot in the Hurun Global Rich List. This despite the fact that his estimated wealth of $140 billion dropped $7 billion from last year, due, in large part, to the world’s largest divorce settlement with MacKenzie Bezos, who, interestingly, makes the list in her own right, with a wealth of $44 billion.

Hurun released its ninth edition of its Global Rich List 2020, a ranking of the world’s dollar billionaires. The list showcases over 2800 richest individuals of the world with a net worth of $1 billion or more with the cut-off date set at 31 January 2020.

Following Bezos on the Top 10 are:

RankingNameCompanyWorth
No. 2Bernard ArnaultLMHV$107
No. 3Bill GatesMicrosoft$106
No. 4Warren BuffetBerkshire Hathaway$102
No. 5Mark ZuckerbergFacebook$84
No. 6Armancio OrtegaZara$81
No. 7Carlos Slim and familyAmerica Movil$72
No. 8Sergey BrinGoogle$68
No. 9Larry Page, Mukesh Ambani, Steve BallmerGoogle | Reliance | Microsoft$67

Ambani is the only Indian to feature in the Top 10 for a second time and is also the richest in Asia. The Reliance Chairman saw a 24% or nearly $13-billion surge in his wealth, driven by his performance in the telecom business. It was reckoned that Ambani made Rs. 7 crore every hour last year!

Following Ambani in India are the SP Hinduja family ($27 billion) and Gautam Adani (over $17 billion). Oyo’s Ritesh Agarwal is the world’s second-youngest billionaire.

Notably, 7 of the Top 10 are from the United States, with Ballmer, Ortega, and Arnault adding over $20 billion to their wealth. The other significant factoid: The Top 10 added $140 billion over the year and are collectively worth $961 billion, which is about 9% of the total list.

THE RISE OF INDIA

Yet given the global economic scenario, globally there was an addition of 480 billionaires last year — which works out to more than one billionaire a day! In Asia, China churned out more than three billionaires a week while India produced three billionaires a month. 

In the ‘billionairing’ game, the ‘Big Two’ are Greater China and the US, reporting 799 and 626 billionaires, respectively, accounting for over half of the billionaires on earth.

In adding new billionaires, India rose to No. 3, closely followed by Germany and the UK, with each of them being home to more than 100 billionaires. In the last year, India added 34 to the list which now has 138 billionaires (residing in the country). Mumbai alone is home to 50 of them, followed by New Delhi (30), and Bengaluru (17). 

Meanwhile, Russia rose to No. 6 in the league.

Hurun Report’s Chairman and Chief Researcher Rupert Hoogewerf observed: “A boom in tech valuations and strong stock markets across the US, India, and China have propelled the billionaires to record highs. The US had a record number of 626 ‘known’ billionaires. Despite the trade war, China has added 182 new faces to 799 billionaires, widening the gap with the US.”

Referring to China, the global superpower on the league, Hoogewerf said: “China today has more billionaires than the US and India combined,” adding, “despite a sell-off on the first day after the stock markets re-opened after the Chinese New Year on the back of the coronavirus, China’s stock market has rallied by 14% since last year’s list.”

Referring to the stock markets that played a crucial role in adding to the valuations, Hoogewerf said: “It has been a good year for the stock markets generally. The Nasdaq led the way with a 26% increase, whilst India and China’s stock markets rose 15% and 14%, respectively. The US dollar continued its strength, albeit with only small appreciations of 3% against the Chinese yuan and the euro, and 1% against the Indian rupee. The Russian rouble rose 7% against the dollar, reversing a trend of depreciation over the past two years.”

THE MISSING BILLIONAIRES

To the more than rhetorical question of what could be the real number of billionaires, Hoogewerf had this to say: “The world today has 6,500 dollar billionaires, up 500 on last year, assuming that for everyone we found, we have probably missed at least one if not more, particularly from the Gulf states. We have found 626 billionaires in the US, for example, suggesting the true number should be at least double that, perhaps as many as 1,500. In China, we have found 800, but the actual number should be closer to 2,000.”

INDIAN BILLIONAIRES DEFY GRAVITY

Pointing out an interesting paradox in the Indian scenario, Hurun Report India MD and Chief Researcher Anas Rahman Junaid said: “Indian billionaires are defying gravity. The structural slowdown in the economy does not seem to hamper the growth of Indians in the Hurun Global Rich List 2020. The missing pieces in the puzzle are automobile and the real estate sector, and we expect exponential wealth creation in those sectors in the coming years. If the economy were to grow apace to meet the $5-trillion target, the total wealth creation would at least double the current value.”

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