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Hurun Global Rich List 2021: Amidst Pandemic, India Added 40 More Billionaires Last Year


In 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, India added 40 more billionaires, rising to the third spot globally with record 177 billionaires after China and the US, according to Hurun Global Rich List 2021.   Hurun Report chairman and chief researcher Rupert Hoogewerf said, “Despite the disruption caused by Covid-19, this year has seen the biggest wealth increase of the last decade.

A stock markets boom, driven partly by quantitative easing, and flurry of new listings, have minted eight new dollar billionaires a week for the past year. The world has never seen this much wealth created in just one year, much more than perhaps could have been expected for a year so badly disrupted by Covid-19.”

Elon Musk, Zhong Shanshan, and Bertrand Puech are the new faces in the top 10 billionaires. The Top 10 added $169 billion over the year and are now worth U$1.1 trillion or 7.5% of the total list.

Reliance Industries chairman and India’s rich Mukesh Ambani, with a personal wealth of $83 billion, ranked 8th in the top 10 list as his wealth grew 24% on the back of a surge in the value of energy and telecom giant Reliance. 

India’s largest exporter, Reliance, accounts for 8% of the country’s exports and 5% of India’s total revenues from customs and excise duty. The Mukesh Ambani-led firm plans a calculated shift to renewable energy and has decided to venture into the battery-making business ahead of the electric vehicle boom.

The India story:

Sector-wise, Healthcare, Consumer Goods, and Chemicals led the way, with 37, 26, and 19 billionaires, respectively. 

In India, Mumbai is by far the billionaire capital with 61, followed by New Delhi with 40 and Bangalore with 22. The average billionaire age in India was 66. There are a further 32 billionaires of Indian origin, living outside of India, led by LN Mittal of ArcelorMittal in London, said the Hurun report. 

Out of the 177 billionaires, 150 saw their wealth increase, of which 50 were new faces. In 2020, the wealth of 16 billionaires decreased, and 10 dropped off the list while 12 stayed the same.  

Besides, Ambani other notable increases include:

  • Gautam Adani & family, 58, saw his wealth almost double to $32 billion, on the back of Adani Green Energy growing to a $20billion company.
  • Shiv Nadar & family, 75, saw his wealth rise to $27 billion, up $10 billion, backed by a 66% increase in the share price of the software and services giant HCL.
  • NR Narayana Murthy, 74, was up 35% to $3.1 billion. His son-in-law Rishi Sunak, 40, is the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, the most powerful person in the British government after the prime minister.
  • Pankaj Munjal & family, 58of cycle manufacturer Hero Cycles, made to the list for the first time with $1.2 billion on the back of the surging e-bike demand in India.
  • Murli Divi & family, 69, of pharma major Divi’s Laboratories, saw wealth growing 72% to $7.4 billion.
  • Kumar Mangalam Birla & family, 53, of the global conglomerate Aditya Birla Group, saw a 61% surge in his wealth to $9.2 billion.

Notable Dropouts

  • Scandal-hit BR Shetty lost his billionaire status for the first time. Shetty’s assets have been ordered to be globally frozen by UK Courts. 
  • Ritesh Aggarwal, 27, of hotel chain Oyo Rooms, lost his billionaire status after the impact of Covid-19. 
  • Kishore Biyani of Future Retail, the fastest wealth creator in 2018, dropped out after over-leveraging that blew out of control due to Covid-19. 
  • Rajesh Mehta also dropped out from the billionaire list in 2020. 

Where most of the billionaires live?

China has pulled away big time from the USA in the past year, adding 259 new billionaires to 1058 to become the first country in the world to top 1000 ‘known’ dollar billionaires. The USA is second with 696 billionaires, up 70. Between the ‘Big Two,’ China and the USA have 54% of the ‘known’ billionaires on the planet. India added 40 to solidify its third place, followed by Germany, the UK, and Switzerland, each with more than 100 ‘known’ billionaires.



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