Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, 56, has retained the top spot for the third year running in the Hurun Global Rich List. His estimated wealth of $140 billion is down $7 billion from last year, mainly due to the world’s largest divorce settlement — with MacKenzie Bezos, who makes the list in her own right, with $44 billion.

Hurun released on Wednesday the Hurun Global Rich List 2020, a ranking of the world’s dollar billionaires, marking its ninth year. It is a compilation of the richest 2,817 individuals across the globe having a net worth of $1 billion or more. Wealth calculations are a snapshot of January 31, 2020.

Mukesh Ambani at joint ninth

Following Bezos on the top 10 are Bernard Arnault (LMHV, $107 billion, rank no 2); Bill Gates (Microsoft, $106 billion, number three); Warren Buffet (Berkshire Hathaway, $102 billion, number four); Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook, $84 billion, number five); Armancio Ortega (Zara, $81 billion, number six); Carlos Slim and family (America Movil, $72 billion, number seven); Sergey Brin (Google, $68 billion, number eight); Larry Page (Google), Mukesh Ambani (Reliance) and Steve Ballmer (Microsoft) at $67 billion each, each joining at number nine.


Mukesh Ambani, CMD, Reliance Industries


Ambani, the only Indian to feature in the top 10, and for a second time, is also the richest in Asia, having seen a 24 per cent, or $13-billion, surge in his wealth, mainly on the back of a good performance in his telecom business. Seven of the top 10 are from the US. Ballmer, Ortega and Arnault have added over $20 billion to their wealth. The top 10 have added $140 billion over the year and are now worth $961 billion, or 9 per cent of the total list.

India rises to third position

The world has added 480 billionaires last year, more than one billionaire a day. China has minted more than three new billionaires a week and India, more than three billionaires a month. The ‘Big Two’ are Greater China and the US, with 799 and 626 billionaires, respectively, making up over half of the billionaires on the planet.

In adding billionaires, India rose to third, followed by Germany and the UK, with more than 100 billionaires living in each country. India has added 34 to the list and now has 138 billionaires residing in the country. Mumbai is home to 50 of them, followed by New Delhi (30) and Bengaluru (17).

Meanwhile, Russia has risen to the sixth place.

Hurun Report Chairman and Chief Researcher Rupert Hoogewerf said: “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.”

China home to the most

“China today has more billionaires than the US and India combined,” said Hoogewerf. “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 per cent since last year’s list.”

“It has been a good year for the stock markets generally. The Nasdaq led the way with a 26 per cent increase, whilst India and China’s stock markets rose 15 per cent and 14 per cent, respectively. The US dollar continued its strength, albeit with only small appreciations of 3 per cent against the Chinese yuan and the euro, and 1 per cent against the Indian rupee. The Russian rouble rose 7 per cent against the dollar, reversing a trend of depreciation over the past two years,” he added.

‘Missing’ billionaires

How many billionaires are there in the world? “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,” said Hoogewerf.

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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