With a networth of $197 billion, Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk is the richest person on the planet, much ahead of Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, who came in second with a wealth of $189 billion. While Louis Vuitton SE group head Bernard Arnault came in third ($114 billion), Reliance Industries Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani, ranked eighth, was the only Indian to feature among the top 10.

Forty-nine-year-old Musk added $151 billion over the last year or nearly a billion dollars every two days, with the bulk of his wealth coming in from his 21 per cent stake in Tesla. SpaceX, in which he holds a 52 per cent share, added $13 billion in value in the past year, according to the Hurun Global Rich List 2021.

Bezos, 57, who was the world’s richest man last year, came in second despite adding $49 billion in the past year.

‘Luxury King’ Arnault, 71, dropped down one place to third position with $114 billion. At the outset of the Covid-19 outbreak, Arnault was down $25 billion but has since bounced back by the end the year with 7 per cent more than last year.

“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 has 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 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, we expect to see 50 or more break through the $100-billion mark within the next five years,” he added.

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Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates was ranked fourth ($128 billion), Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg ($101 billion) was at fifth, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett ($91 billion) at sixth and Chinese bottled-water company Nongfu Spring Chairman Zhong Shanshan ($85 billion) at seventh. Ambani with a networth of $83 billion ranked eighth, followed by former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Bertrand Puech & family of French luxury giant Hermes (both at ninth with $80 billion each).

There were three new faces in the top 10 this year: Elon Musk, Zhong Shanshan and Bertrand Puech. The top 10 — of which six are from the US, two from France and two from China and India — added $169 billion over the year and are now worth $1.1 trillion or 7.5 per cent of the total list.

“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, adding, electric vehicles, e-commerce, blockchain and biotech were the fastest-growing industries last year.

The rich list ranked 3,228 billionaires from 2,402 companies and 68 countries.


Indian billionaires

India now has 209 billionaires, of which 177 live in India, compared with 689 in the US. With $83 billion, Ambani, 63, of Reliance is the richest person in India. Healthcare, consumer goods and chemicals led the way, with 37, 26, and 19 billionaires each.


Mukesh Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Industries


Mumbai is by far the billionaire capital with 61, followed by New Delhi with 40. The average age was 66. There are a further 32 billionaires of Indian origin, living outside of India, led by LN Mittal of ArcelorMittal in London.

Gautam Adani’s wealth almost doubled to $32 billion, Shiv Nadar’s rose to $27 billion (up from $10 billion), NR Narayana Murthy’s wealth rose 35 per cent to $3.1 billion, and Pankaj Munjal made it to the list for the first time with $1.2 billion.

Scandal-hit BR Shetty lost his billionaire status for the first time. Ritesh Aggarwal of Oyo Rooms lost his billionaire status due to the impact of Covid-19, Kishore Biyani of Future Retail also dropped out of the list.