India has world's third-highest number of billionaires

The US continues to have the highest concentration of billionaires on the planet, followed by China in second place, Forbes says

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India has a record number of 200 billionaires in 2024, ranking third globally for the highest concentration of the ultra-rich, who continue to build on their wealth on the back of the country's buoyant stock market, according to the Forbes 2024 World Billionaires List.

In contrast, Asia’s third-largest economy had 169 billionaires last year.

The combined wealth of India's richest people is approaching $1 trillion dollars, with a record total of $954 billion, up 41 per cent from $675 billion last year, Forbes said.

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“With shares of his Reliance Industries conglomerate booming, the net worth of Mukesh Ambani shot up to $116 billion, from $83 billion, making him the first Asian to break into the exclusive $100 billion club on the list,” Forbes said in its annual report, which used stock prices and exchange rates from March 8 to calculate the net worth of the world’s wealthiest.

Mr Ambani retained his position as the ninth-richest person globally and remained both India’s and Asia’s richest person.

Infrastructure and commodities tycoon Gautam Adani added $36.8 billion to his net worth to cement his position as India’s second-wealthiest person.

Although shares of Adani Group were battered last year after allegations of fraud by US-based short-seller Hindenburg Research, they rebounded strongly after it reduced debt and secured investors.

Mr Adani clawed his way back to become the 17th-richest person globally with a fortune of $84 billion – still well off the peak of his wealth of nearly $150 billion in September 2022, when he briefly overtook Amazon founder Jeff Bezos as the world's second-richest person.

The US continues to have the most billionaires in the world, with a record 813 billionaires worth a combined $5.7 trillion, Forbes said.

China, including Hong Kong, remains second on the list, with 473 billionaires worth $1.7 trillion, it added.

Weak consumer spending and a real estate bust helped wipe out about $300 billion in billionaire wealth in China, the report said.

The world has more billionaires than ever before. Currently, there are 2,781 billionaires worldwide – 141 more than last year and 26 more than the record set in 2021, according to Forbes.

Their combined net worth hit a record $14.2 trillion in aggregate, up by $2 trillion from 2023 and $1.1 trillion above the previous record, also set in 2021.

Much of the gains come from the world's top 20 richest people, who have added a combined $700 billion in wealth since 2023, Forbes said.

Top 10 richest people globally

Bernard Arnault, chairman of French luxury group LVMH, is the world’s richest person with a net worth of $233 billion, Forbes said.

In contrast to the Forbes list, the Bloomberg Billionaires Index estimates Mr Arnault’s current net worth to be $228 billion.

Elon Musk, co-founder of Tesla and the owner of social media platform X, is ranked second on the Forbes list with a net worth of $195 billion.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos remains in third place with a personal fortune of $194 billion, followed by Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Meta Platforms, in fourth place with $177 billion.

Larry Ellison, co-founder of computer technology company Oracle, is in fifth place with $141 billion.

Renowned investor Warren Buffett is the sixth-richest person in the world with a net worth of $133 billion, while Microsoft founder Bill Gates was in seventh place with $128 billion.

Steve Ballmer, former chief executive of Microsoft and owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team, is the eighth-richest person in the world with a net worth of $121 billion, and Mr Ambani ranked ninth.

Rounding up the top 10 is Alphabet co-founder Larry Page with a personal fortune worth $114 billion, Forbes said.

Richest women

Women occupy a small but growing slice of the world’s exclusive billionaire club, with only 369, or 13.3 per cent, included on the list, up from 337 in 2023.

Combined, the world's wealthiest women are worth about $1.8 trillion, about $240 billion more than last year, according to Forbes.

Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, the granddaughter of French pharmacist and L’Oreal founder Eugene Schueller, is once again the world’s richest woman with a net worth of $99.5 billion.

Her fortune has jumped $19 billion in the past 12 months, the biggest gain of any woman on the list, but falling just short of her entering the $100 billion club.

Ms Meyers has topped the Forbes list for women for the fourth year running.

Nine of the 10 richest women inherited their fortunes, either from their fathers, husbands or, in one case, mother. MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Mr Bezos, is the only one in the top 10 to receive her fortune through divorce.

Walmart heir Alice Walton, the only daughter of the company's founder, Sam Walton, ranked second on the Forbes list with a personal fortune of $72.3 billion.

Julia Koch, who inherited a 42 per cent stake in Koch Industries along with her three children when her husband, David, died in 2019, dropped one spot to be the world’s third-richest woman with a net worth of $64.3 billion.

Jacqueline Mars – who inherited an estimated one third of Mars Incorporated, the sweets and pet food conglomerate behind brands such as M&M’s – ranked fourth on the list and is the world’s fourth-wealthiest woman at $38.5 billion.

Ms Scott ranked fifth on the list with a net worth of $35.6 billion.

Richest celebrities

The man behind the Star Wars and Indiana Jones movie franchises, George Lucas, ranked as the world’s richest celebrity with a net worth of $5.5 billion.

The director's wealth is derived largely from his production company Lucasfilm, which he sold to Disney in 2012 for more than $4 billion in cash and stock.

Forbes ranked Oscar-winning director Steven Spielberg as the second-richest celebrity with a net worth of $4.8 billion.

Former basketball star Michael Jordan is ranked third with a personal fortune of $3.2 billion.

The richest woman and the fourth-wealthiest entertainer on the celebrity list this year is Oprah Winfrey with a net worth of $2.8 billion.

Rounding out the top five is music mogul Jay-Z, real name Shawn Corey Carter, with a personal fortune worth $2.5 billion, according to Forbes.

World's top 10 richest people in 2024

  1. Bernard Arnault: $233 billion
  2. Elon Musk: $195 billion
  3. Jeff Bezos: $194 billion
  4. Mark Zuckerberg: $177 billion
  5. Larry Ellison: $141 billion
  6. Warren Buffett: $133 billion
  7. Bill Gates: $128 billion
  8. Steve Ballmer: $121 billion
  9. Mukesh Ambani: $116 billion
  10. Larry Page: $114 billion

Source: Forbes

Updated: April 04, 2024, 4:12 AM