Following the lifestyles of the rich and the famous is a favourite pastime for many people, with celebrity columns in magazines having devoted readers that are keen on glimpsing into how the richest people live their everyday lives.
But there is also another reason to keep tabs on the richest people alive: observing trends in wealth can help analysts understand the direction the economy is heading in and which sectors are destined for a boom.
With India’s economy on the rise, taking a closer look at the richest people in the country does not only satisfy our guilty pleasure in gossip but also tells us a lot about India’s thriving market and its worldwide connections.
From Amazon to Facebook: The Global Leaders in Wealth
Every year the Forbes magazine publishes its World’s Billionaires’ List, which, in 2018, identified a record number of 2,208 people in the elite three-comma club, hailing from across 72 different countries and territories – which, this year, includes 259 new names and billionaires from Hungary and Zimbabwe for the first time. Their collective wealth amounts to $9.1 trillion, which marks an 18% increase since last year and means an average $4.1 billion for each of the lucky few on the list. Their activities are as diverse as they come, ranging from cryptocurrencies to toy companies to burger empires.
Bernard Arnault’s family, which claims the 4th spot on the list and is the richest European on the list, oversees a fashion and entertainment empire that includes names like Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, Sephora and Dom Perignon.
To nobody’s surprise, this year the list is again topped by Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of retail giant Amazon, who just surpassed the $100 billion mark to reach $112 billion. According to online casino Betway’s recent billionaire infographic, which documents how fast the world’s moguls moved from millionaire to billionaire, Jeff Bezos made the leap in just 2 years, becoming a millionaire at 33 and a billionaire at 35. Bill Gates of Microsoft fame comes in second with 90 billion – and he has donated a significant amount of his wealth to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest private charity, contributing to the trend of billionaires vowing to give back. Investor Warren Buffet has also joined his friend at signing the 99% pledge, vowing to give back 99% of his wealth, as has Facebook’s wunderkind, Mark Zuckerberg, who claims the 3rd and 5th spot respectively.
Indian Billionaires Are Getting More by the Week
India has its own fair share of billionaires as the economy is thriving and boosting Indian entrepreneurship’s global presence. In fact, according to the Hurun Global Rich List 2018, India added a billionaire to the list every week during the last 12 months, raising the total number of additions to 56, while 15 names were demoted – which means that one-third of the list was replaced. Mumbai seems to be the billionaire capital, as 55 people on the list call it their home, while New Delhi comes second with 29 moguls. Ahmedabad has nine. Even more interestingly, Hurun reports that six out of ten Indian names on its list are first generation entrepreneurs – which translates to self-made.
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According to The Economic Times, India’s list is topped by none other than Mukesh Ambani, who ranks 19th on the global scale with a net worth of $40.1 billion – up almost $17 billion since 2017. He is the chairman and founder of Reliance Industries Limited, India’s gas and oil giant. When he topped the list again last year, his net worth amounted to 50% more than the GDP of his country of birth, Yemen. Software tycoon Azim Premji ranks in second with $18.8 billion and Lakshmi Mittal, the UK-based steel magnate who is chairman and CEO of the global leader in the steelmaking industry, ArcelorMittal, follows closely at $18.5 billion.
Shiv Nadar retains his number four spot with $14.6 billion. The billionaire, nicknamed “magus” by those close to him – an allusion to his magical entrepreneurship skills – founded his IT hardware company HCL in the 1970s and then kept reinventing its IT-related focus to land in the place of the fourth largest software company globally. Last in the top-five is Dilip Shangvi, down a couple of places from last year’s rankings. The pharmaceuticals tycoon is currently estimated at a $12.8 billion net worth – and it is worth noting that his industry claims the most billionaires on the list, with a total of 16. The richest Indian woman on the list according to The Economic Times is Savitri Jindal, chairperson emeritus of Jindal Steel & Power Limited and active in politics and public work, who claims the 176th spot worldwide with $8.8 billion.
Indian economy is as potent as it is dynamic: its focus keeps changing and drawing more and more active entrepreneurs in. Will we soon see Indian business magnates actually making it to the top-10 globally? That prospect might be closer than we think.