China, Russia drive growth in billionaires

08:15, March 10, 2011      

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Rising oil prices in Russia, more honest disclosure in Brazil and booming economies in China and India have fueled a spike in billionaires in the world, Forbes Magazine reported yesterday.

Moscow City is now home to the most billionaires with 79, followed by New York City with 58, Forbes said in its annual list of the richest people in the world.

The magazine said China nearly doubled its number of billionaires to 115 now, while Russia and Brazil posted some 70 percent jumps to 101 and 30 billionaires, respectively.

It was the first time countries outside the United States produced more than 100 billionaires.

The world's richest man, Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim, retained his crown for the second year in a row and made more money than any of the other 1,209 billionaires in 2010: $20.5 billion, taking his total fortune to a mighty $74 billion.

India added six billionaires, taking its total billionaires to 55, "but the average net worth ... is huge -- $4.5 billion for an Indian billionaire versus $2.5 billion for a Chinese billionaire," said Forbes Chief Executive Steve Forbes.

Russia's billionaire growth was attributed to a commodities boom. Brazil's increase came from stricter disclosure rules and a stronger currency. In China and India, strong economies helped create billionaires from a range of industries.

The top industries for producing new billionaires were in the fields of energy, fashion and retail, manufacturing and finance, Forbes said.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates held on to second place, growing his wealth to $56 billion, and investor Warren Buffett again came in third with $50 billion.

Forbes said that Gates would have still been the richest man in the world if he had not given $28 billion of his wealth to his charity foundation.

The number of women billionaires has risen to 102, he said.

"The global economy is recovering, but it is not all spread across the board," said Forbes. "There are increases in the number of billionaires in Europe, but primarily in Russia. The United States barely registered an increase."

"In terms of wealth, the dog that isn't barking is Japan," said Forbes, referencing a Sherlock Holmes novel. "(It has) a fairly small number of billionaires compared to the size of Japan's economy."

Agencies/ People's Daily Online
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