Claiming the top spot right, from under Japan’s nose are Indian Billionaires. According to Forbes magazine’s 2007 rankings of the world’s richest people, India has added 14 new billionaires to its list since last year to bring its total to 36 with a combined wealth of US$191 billion. The runner-up Japan has 24 billionaires with an estimated combined net worth US$64 billion. The second runner-up Hong Kong claims it’s a spot with 21 billionaires, and China is fourth with 20. These four countries alone add up to 101 billionaires from the global number of 946. In the top twenty countdowns, only five Americans were ranked out of three were Indians. The top brass includes the likes of Lakshmi N. Mittal (the London-based steel magnate) is the richest Asian and the world’s fifth-wealthiest with a net worth estimated at US$32 billion. Hong Kong-based business tycoon Li Ka-Shing is Asia’s second-wealthiest individual and ninth overall with a net worth of US$23 billion. Coming in close as the third and fourth richest in Asia are the two Indian brothers, Mukesh Ambani and Anil Ambani, who split their father’s business after months of feuding in 2005.
A shocker in the list was the exclusion of Japan’s resort and railroad kingpin Yoshiaki Tsutsumi, who ranked as the world’s richest in 1987. The figures from India indicate a sharp contrast of haves vs have-nots as there are 400 million Indians who still live on less than a dollar a day.