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Forbes India: all about the world's billionaires

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Forbes India

Last Updated: March 13, 2010, 08:04 IST

Forbes India: all about the world's billionaires

US citizens still dominate the ranks but their grip is slipping.

Total Net Worth of 2010 List: $3.6 trillion, up from $2.4 trillion in 2009.

Total billionaires: The number of billionaires on Forbes' list is 1,011, up from 793 in 2009.

Average Net Worth of 2010 billionaires: $3.5 billion, up from $3 billion in 2009.

New: 97, representing 22 countries Drop-offs: 30
Deceased: 13

Returnees: 164

Women: 89, up from 72 last year

Total Net Worth Top 10: $342 billion, up from $254 billion last year

Total Net Worth Top 20: $551 billion, up from $416 billion last year

The list represents citizens from 55 countries.

The Top 3 two years ago still make up the Top 3 this year, however:

  • Carlos Slim Helu jumps from #3 to #1. It's the first time since 1994 that a non-American billionaire has occupied the top spot.
  • Gates drops from #1 to #2.

  • Buffett drops from #2 to #3.

  • Collectively, these three members of the Forbes list have gained $41.5 billion over the past year. From 2008 to 2009, these three lost a collective $68 billion.

US citizens still dominate the ranks but their grip is slipping. Americans accounted for 40 per cent of the world's 10-figure fortunes, down from 45 per cent a year ago. The US commands 38 per cent of the collective $3.6 trillion net worth of the world's billionaires, down from 44 per cent in 2009.

For the first time mainland China has the most billionaires outside the US, with 64. Including Hong Kong, it has 89. Russia has 62, a lot of them returnees who had fallen off last year's list amid a meltdown in commodities.

Americans still dominate the superrich, occupying seven of the Top 20 spots, down from 10 last year. But four have the last name Walton.

67 per cent of the billionaires on this year's list are considered self-made.

Where do they live: New York City is home to the most billionaires with 60; Moscow is second with 50, while London slips to third with 32.

Youngest billionaire: Mark Zuckerberg (#212), founder of Facebook, who returns to the list this year, with a net worth of $4 billion. He is 25.

Oldest billionaire: Switzerland's Walter Haefner (#287) is 99 and has a net worth of $3.3 billion.

97 newcomers this year (compared to just 38 in 2009) including:

  • Mian Muhammed Mansha (#937) worth $1 billion, is Pakistan's first billionaire. His Nishat Group is now his country's largest private employer and the biggest exporter of cotton clothes (for brands like Gap). He sold more than half his shares in a bank for $900 million in 2008

  • American Isaac Perlmutter (#616) worth $1.6 billion - the Marvel chief sold his super-hero comics outfit (including Spider-Man, the Hulk, X-Men) to Disney for $4 billion in December. He netted nearly $900 million in cash, more than 20 million shares of Disney and gets to keep his day job.

  • Li Shufu (#556) worth $1.8 billion, who runs Chinese automaker Geely, which announced plans to buy Swedish brand Volvo from Ford in December.

  • US citizen Kelcy Warren (#655) worth $1.5 billion, who co-founded natural-gas pipeline firm Energy Transfer in 1995 and bought up struggling gas assets. Today the company operates more than 17,500 miles of pipelines in ten states.

  • Yoshikazu Tanaka (#721) worth $1.4 billion, is the world's second-youngest self-made billionaire, behind Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg. The Japanese 33-year-old also made his billions from social networking. His Gree, which lets subscribers play games on their mobile phones, makes money selling virtual clothes and accessories for online avatars.

  • Indonesian Low Tuck Kwong (#828) worth $1.2 billion, thrived as a building contractor but hit the jackpot after moving into coal mining. He is an animal lover who rehabilitates orangutans for reintroduction into the wild.

  • This year, Finland boasts its first billionaire: Antti Herlin (#773) whose $1.3 billion fortune was predominantly made through manufacturing elevators and escalators.

Of the 97 new billionaires, only 16 are from the US By contrast, Asia made big gains: the region added 62 new billionaires during the past year. Asia now trails Europe in total number of billionaires by only 14, thanks to several large public offerings and swelling stock markets.


  • The United States is once again home to the most billionaires on the planet, returning 47 moguls and adding 16 new titans to command 403 billionaires this year.

  • Americans make up 40 per cent of the world's billionaires, down from 45 per cent last year.

  • Huge hedge fund returns helped several money men make up for 2008 losses, including David Tepper (#258) whose net worth is up 190 per cent.

  • There are 16 new US billionaires, including Denver Broncos Patrick Bowlen & family (#937) and energy billionaire Kelcy Warren (#655).

  • Bill Gates (#2) loses the ‘world's richest man' title to Mexico's Carlos Slim Helu. However, the Microsoft founder saw his net worth soar from $40 billion to $53 billion during the past year.

  • 2008's #1 and 2009's #2, Warren Buffett, slips to #3, but increases his net worth by $10 billion to $47 billion.

  • The world's youngest billionaire at age 25, Mark Zuckerberg (#212), founder of Facebook, returns to the list this year, with a net worth of $4 billion.


  • It's a big year for the region: Carlos Slim Helu is the world's richest person, Eike Batista is 2010's biggest gainer and Sebastian Pinera is Chile's newly elected President. There are 11 more ten-figure titans in this part of the world than last year.

  • Mexican telecom and media giant Carlos Slim Helu (#1) tops the list with a net worth of $53.5 billion up from $35 billion last year. Slim merged assets into his America Movil, Latin America's biggest mobile phone company, and also owns a stake in the New York Times.

  • Brazilian Eike Batista (#8) is this year's biggest gainer, increasing his net worth from $7.5 billion to $27 billion over the past twelve months.

  • The Americas have only two newcomers: retailer Horst Paulmann and family (#154) worth $5 billion and Joao Alves de Queiroz Filho (#616) whose $1.6 billion fortune has been built through consumer goods.

  • Canadian media baron David Thomson and family (#20) upped their net worth by $6 billion to $19 billion.


  • Asia-Pacific is home to a record 234 billionaires, an 80 per cent gain over last year. Their collective net worth: $729 billion, double what it was a year ago.

  • India has 49 ten-figure titans, up from 24 a year ago.

  • China has 64 billionaires, 27 of them are new.

  • Asia-Pacific's richest man Mukesh Ambani climbs from #7 to #4, with a net worth of $29 billion, an increase of $9.5 billion during the previous year. His Reliance Industries recently bid $2 billion for a 65 per cent stake in Canadian oil-sands outfit Value Creation.

  • Anil Ambani (#36) was last year's biggest loser: he dropped $31.9 billion in 12 months from 2008 to 2009. This year Ambani's wealth has grown by $3.6 billion to $13.7 billion, but he's dropped two places on the list.

  • Fellow Indian Lakshmi Mittal (#5), who also endured significant losses last year, jumped three places this time around, as his net worth soared to $28.7 billion, up from $19.3 billion in 2009. Shares in his steel giant ArcelorMittal are up 34 per cent in the past year on improved global economic outlook.

  • Australian media mogul James Packer (#258) increased his net worth by $1 billion during the past year to $3.5 billion.

  • Mian Muhammad Mansha (#937) from Pakistan is another notable new entry with a net worth of $1 billion.


  • The Middle East and Africa have 65 billionaires, seven more than last year thanks almost entirely to a rebound in Turkey, which added 15 ten-figure fortunes, elsewhere, seven titans fell out of the ranks and two died.

  • The Middle East didn't fare well: excluding Africa and Turkey, the region has seven fewer billionaires and are poorer overall.

  • Prince Alwaleed (#19) from Saudi Arabia is still the region's richest man with a net worth of $19.4 billion, up from $13.3 billion in 2009.


  • Europe now has 248 billionaires. The region added 52 titans this year, thanks largely to the return of 47 who had previously fallen to ninefigure status. Another 14 mavens made their debut. Only nine are poorer. Russia has the most billionaires in the region with 62, 30 more than last year. Germany slips to second with 53. Total Wealth $1 trillion.

  • Bernard Arnault (#7), the owner of fashion house Louis Vuitton, is Europe's richest person for the first time with a net worth of $27.5 billion, up from $16.5 billion in 2009. Arnault was the fifth wealthiest European and #15 on the list last year.

  • High profile returnees include Russian construction queen Elena Baturina (#342) with $2.9 billion.

  • Steel magnate Alisher Usmanov (#100) – competing with Stan Kroenke to buy UK soccer giant Arsenal – increased his net worth by a staggering $5.6 billion to $7.2 billion.

  • German media tycoon Elizabeth Mohn & family (#189) is the highest new entry in the region with $4.4 billion. She takes the spot of her husband Reinhard who died last year.

  • Other notable newcomers include two Brits: real estate giant Xiu Li Hawken (#400) with $2.4 billion and hedge fund manager Alan Howard (#556) with $1.8 billion and Irish entrepreneur Martin Naughton (#655) with $1.5 billion.

first published:March 13, 2010, 08:04 IST
last updated:March 13, 2010, 08:04 IST