Tuesday, March 21, 2006

India, Hong Kong top Japan in net worth on Forbes' Billionaire List

Mar. 10--NEW YORK -- For the first time, the net worth of the billionaires in India and Hong Kong has surpassed that of the 27 billionaires in Japan, Forbes magazine said Thursday.

While Japan still has the most billionaires in Asia, their combined net worth, at $66.9 billion, is down 11 percent from last year's list, Forbes associate editor Luisa Kroll told at a news conference for its 20th Billionaires issue.

The Japanese billionaires included on the list are Yasuo Takei, former chairman of consumer credit firm Takefuji Co., ranked 107th, and Hiroshi Mikitani, president of Japan's largest Internet retailer Rakuten Inc., at 224th.

"While the U.S. still dominates the list, 2006 really belongs to some of the more emerging markets," Kroll said. "And no country speaks to that more than India. With its stock market up more than 50 percent in the past 12 months, India is home to 10 new faces." The combined net worth of India's 23 billionaires this year is nearly $99 billion, compared with 12 billionaires last year worth $61.3 billion.

Their fortunes were made in areas as diverse as software, online gambling, telecom and media, reflecting the explosive growth of India's economy.

Among India's billionaires added to the Forbes list is Tulsi Tanti, 48, ranked 562nd out of 793 billionaires with a net worth of $1.4 billion. Tanti's company, Suzlon Energy, runs the largest wind farm in Asia and went public in October.

In Hong Kong, businessman Li Ka-shing, 77, moved up 12 spots on the list to be ranked 10th, with a net worth of $18.8 billion.

China added three more billionaires to the list this year, with eight billionaires with a combined net worth of $10.2 billion, more than triple last year's combined net worth of $3.1 billion.

Among the Chinese newcomers was William Ding, 35, founder of NetEase.com, a leading Internet and online gaming services provider, ranked 645th with a net worth of $1.2 billion.

Within the Asia-Pacific region, which includes Australia and New Zealand, there are 115 billionaires, an increase of 30 from last year.

This year's Forbes list includes 793 billionaires, up from 691 last year, worth a combined $2.6 trillion. Microsoft founder Bill Gates, 50, remains the world's richest man for a record 12th straight year with a net worth of $50 billion.

While the United States still has the most billionaires, with 371, followed by Germany with 55, the Middle East and Africa enjoyed stunning growth, nearly doubling its number of billionaires to 56 this year from last year's 29, with a combined net worth of $167 billion, which gives the region an edge over the Americas in both its billionaire count and total net worth.

Source: Kyodo News International (Japan), Mar 10, 2006


Post a Comment

<< Home