4 Indians in Forbes' top 10 billionaires list; Buffett is No 1

Anil Ambani 'biggest gainer' with $23.8 b increase


Our Bureau

New Delhi, March 6

An upheaval in the global billionaire's club is marked not only with American investor Mr Warren Buffett overtaking Microsoft co-founder Mr Bill Gates and Mexican telecom honcho Mr Carlos Slim Helu, but with four Indians emerging in the top ten of the Forbes' 2008 World's Billionaires list.

With a combined net worth of $160 billion, Mr Lakshmi Mittal, Mr Mukesh Ambani, Mr Anil Ambani and Mr K.P. Singh are the only Asians to have muscled their way into this coveted list.

Mr Mittal, owner of the world's largest steel maker ArcelorMittal, has become the richest Indian with a net worth of $45 billion, although globally he is ranked fourth in the list prepared by Forbes magazine, which was released on Thursday.

The Reliance Industries Chairman, Mr Mukesh Ambani, ($43 billion) is a notch below him at fifth rank, while younger brother Mr Anil Ambani ($42 billion) follows at sixth. The DLF Chairman, Mr Singh, ($30 billion) comes eight.

According to Forbes, Mr Anil Ambani is the biggest gainer with his wealth having increased by $23.8 billion since the last list. In fact, he is just $1 billion behind brother Mukesh, who is the second biggest gainer with a rise of $22.9 billion in his networth. In the 2007 list, the elder brother's net worth stood at $20.1 billion making him the 14th richest man in the world, while Anil was the 18th richest at $18.2 billion.

In the case of Mr Singh, Forbes points out, "the world's richest real estate baron moved an incredible 54 places to eighth place with his net worth trebling."

With 19 newcomers, India now has 53 billionaires with a combined wealth of $340.9 billion. Interestingly, their wealth is more than 3.5 times of the 42 billionaires from China, which saw the highest number of newcomers at 28 in the past year.

In the list, the number of billionaires from Asia jumped by a third to 211, with a total net worth of $804 billion. There were 63 newcomers and 16 drop-outs. In the region, India and China are followed by Hong Kong (26), Japan (24) and Australia (14) in terms of number of billionaires. The top newcomer from Asia is also an Indian. Adani Enterprises' promoter Mr Gautam Adani with $9.3 billion to his name entered the list this year.

For the first time, the number of billionaires Forbes identified crossed into four figures, at 1,125, up 179 from last year. "Their total net worth is $4.4 trillion, and two-thirds are self-made, having built their empires from scratch," said Forbes