Monday, March 3, 2014

Bill Gates world's richest again, Mukesh Ambani tops India list: Forbes

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has regained the title of the world's richest man in Forbes magazine's annual billionaire list that includes 56 India based billionaires led by Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani.

Gates is back at the top spot after a four-year hiatus, reclaiming the title of world's richest person from Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helu, who had ranked number 1 for the previous four years.

Gates, whose fortune rose by $9 billion in the past year to $76 billion, has held the top spot for 15 of the past 20 years.

"After years focused on his philanthropy, Gates plans to spend more of his time working with product managers at Microsoft as rivals like Google and Apple continue to outshine the company in the market," Forbes said.

With a networth of $18.6 billion, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) chief Mukesh Ambani leads the pack of 56 billionaires based in India featured on the list.

His younger brother Anil Ambani is ranked 281st on the list with a net worth of $5 billion.

However, Forbes said the richest Indian person has seen "precipitous decline" in his fortune since 2008 when his networth was $43 billion and he when was the world's fifth richest person.

"Regardless he remains India's richest person and is still bullish; says he plans to invest $25 billion in his businesses over the next 2 years," Forbes said.

The magazine also referred to accusations of wrongdoing made against Reliance by Aam Admi Party founder Arvind Kejriwal, who had recently alleged that Ambani is "running the government".

The other Indian billionaires in the list are ArcelorMittal Chairman and CEO Lakshmi Mittal who is ranked
52nd with a networth of $16.7 billion, Wipro Chairman Azim Premji ranked 61st with $15.3 billion, founder of Sun Pharma Dilip Shanghvi ranked 82nd with $12.8 billion, HCL co-founder Shiv Nadar is ranked 102nd and has a net worth of $11.1 billion. Hinduja brothers came in at the 122nd with $10 billion.

Birla group chief Kumar Birla is ranked 191st and has a networth of $7 billion, Forbes said the ranks of the world's billionaires continued to scale new heights and stretched to new corners of the world.

The list has 1,645 billionaires with an aggregate net worth of $6.4 trillion, up from $5.4 trillion a year
ago. The list features a record 268 new ten-figure fortunes, including 42 new women billionaires.

In total, there are 172 women on the list, more than ever before and up from 138 last year.

The year's biggest dollar gainer was Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, whose fortune jumped $15.2 billion, to $28.5 billion, as shares of his company soared.