India is Asia’s top spot for billionaires: Forbes

Washington, August 14:

India’s emerging economic clout has made it Asia’s top spot for billionaires with its 40 richest businesspeople worth a collective $170 billion, up from $106 billion last year, according to leading American business magazine Forbes.

“India’s top ten, worth $112 billion, account for two-thirds of that wealth,” it said in a special report today noting, “India’s rising fortunes are underscored by the increasing prosperity of its wealthiest citizens. India was one of the world’s poorest economies when it won its independence from Britain in 1947. Incredibly, 60 years later, the country’s emerging economic clout has made it Asia’s top spot for billionaires,” Forbes reported.

This year, for the first time in two decades of wealth tracking, Forbes counted more Indian than Japanese billionaires in its annual ranking of the world’s wealthiest people. Three Indians even made it to the list of the top 20 of the world’s richest. Only the US had more billionai-res in the top global ranks.

India’s hot stock market, up by 39 per cent this year, and its robust real estate market helped swell most fortunes. The minimum net worth needed to make the cut rose to $790 million, up from $590 million.

Lakshmi Mittal, who forged a landmark deal in June to acquire Luxembourg rival Arc-elor, remains No 1 and is worth $25 billion. Mukesh and Anil Ambani unseated Azim Pr-emji, who had be-en India’s richest resident for years.

The two brothers, who split their business empire last year after a much-publicised feud, have found life alone much ri-cher. Mukesh’s fortune rose by $11.5 billion while Anil’s increased by $9.3 billion. Still the sp-at continues with one of Anil’s companies recently taking Mukesh’s Reliance Industries to court over a gas supply agreement, Forbes noted.

Many tycoons have been in the news lately for negotiating big deals. Venugopal Dhoot is set to acquire Daewoo Electronics for $700 million. Commo-dities magnate Kumar Ma-ngalam Birla paid $1 billion to buy the Tata Group’s stake in their telecom joint venture Idea. Banker Uday Kotak bought out Goldman Sach’s stake in his bank’s investment banking and brokerage arms.

There are five newcomers in the Forbes list, incl-uding Kalanidhi Maran, who runs regional broadc-aster Sun TV; Ramesh Cha-ndra and Jignesh Shah. Two others, tractor tycoon Keshub Mahindra and Infosys cofounder K Dinesh, are on the list.