Bill Gates is the world’s richest man once again, trading places with Warren Buffet who has moved down to second spot, according to Forbes magazine. The economic meltdown has shaken up the billionaire club. The world today has 793 billionaires down from 1,125 last year. Forbes says:
The world's richest are also a lot poorer. Their collective net worth is $2.4 trillion, down $2 trillion from a year ago. Their average net worth fell 23% to $3 billion. The last time the average was that low was in 2003.
Indians and Russians are among the biggest losers. Anil Ambani, who was the world’s sixth richest person last year, now ranks 34th on the list. He lost $31.9 billion–76% of his fortune–as shares of his Reliance Communications, Reliance Power and Reliance Capital all collapsed. Ambani, now estimated to be worth $10.1 billion, is one of 24 Indian billionaires, all but one of whom are poorer than a year ago. Another 29 Indians lost their billionaire status entirely. India's stock market has fallen 44% in a year, global equity prices 39%.
Indians ranked among the top 100 include:
- Mukesh Ambani (now seventh richest, down from fifth last year, with an estimated net worth of $19.5 billion),
- Lakshmi Mittal (eighth richest, down from fourth, worth $19.3 billion),
- Anil Ambani (34th, down from sixth, worth $10.1 billion),
- Sunil Mittal (59th, up from 64th, worth $7.7 billion),
- Azim Premji (83rd, down from 60th, worth $ 5.7 billion)
- Sashi and Ravi Ruia (86th, down from 43rd, worth $5.6 billion),
- KP Singh (98th, down from eighth, worth an estimated $5 billion).
Russian Roman Abramovich, the world’s 15th richest person last year, is now 51st on the list. Investor Kirk Kerkorian has dropped from 41st to 98th place.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has moved up from No 90 to No 70.
Financier George Soros is among the biggest gainers, moving up from 97th to 29th spot. Another big gainer is hedge fund manager James Simons, up from 178th to 55th spot.
Hightech billionaires in the top 100 include Bill Gates, Oracle’s Lawrence Ellison, Dell’s Michael Dell, Google’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer and Paul Allen, and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. All of them moved up.
Li Ka-shing is the richest Chinese, down from 11th to 16th, worth an estimated $16.2 billion.
The richest man in Southeast Asia is Malaysian Ananda Krishnan, who ranks 62nd with another Malaysian, Robert Kuok, who is based in Hong Kong. Both are estimated to be worth $7 billion. Both moved up dramatically, Krishnan from 131st place last year, and Kuok from 97th.
The richest man in Singapore is Ng Teng Fong, 87th on the list – up from 132nd last year — with an estimated net worth of $5.5 billion.
Also in the top 100 are:
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