While global financial news has been buzzing with the euro zone debt crisis, a volatile equity and commodity market and even fears of a slowdown in China, the world’s billionaires seemed to have continued to fare well. The number of billionaires worldwide grew 9.4 percent to 2,160, expanding their wealth by 14 percent to $6.19 trillion — a staggering $760 billion jump over the previous year1. However one feature of this rise was that regional influences played a role in increasing or maintaining the number of billionaires in different countries of the world. Here is a list of the ten countries with the most billionaires in 2012.
The largest economy of the world, the U.S. is still home to more billionaires than any other nation, with 425, a dozen more than a year ago2. Currently, three of the world’s top ten billionaires, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Larry Ellison belong to the United States. The Forbes 2012 List of Richest Americans also states that two-thirds of the wealthiest people in the U.S. added to their fortunes, boosting their average net worth by $400 million to a record $4.2 billion 3. The list is still led by software mogul and Microsoft CEO, Bill Gates and other names among the top five are Warren Buffet, Larry Ellison, David Koch and Charles Koch.
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Russia seems to have pipped China with regard to the number of billionaires; according to a Forbes report3, Russia now has 96 billionaires, down from 101 last year. The Russian presence on the world billionaire list is led by Alisher Usmanov ranking at 28 and who has a net worth of $18.1 billion with interests extending from steel and telecom to other investments. Other Russian billionaires among the top 50 world’s billionaires are Vladimir Lisin, Alexei Mordashov and Vladimor Potanin.
The second largest economy in the world, the People’s Republic of China is the next on the list of countries with the most billionaires. The number of billionaires in China has come down to 95 from of 115 billionaires last year. China’s presence on the 2012 world Billionaire List is led by Robin Li, the technology czar who has a net worth of $10.2 billion. Other Chinese names among the world’s top 150 billionaires are Liang Kengen and Zong Qinghou.
Even though India has long figured among the so-called Third World economies, the fact that its rate of economic growth has remained one of the best in the world is borne out by the presence of 55 Indians on the current list of global billionaires. India thus ranks after United States, China and Russia for individuals with a total net worth of one billion dollars and above and it accounts for roughly 4.5% of the global total of 1,226 billionaires across the six continents. The wealthiest Indians in the world are Reliance honcho Mukesh Ambani with a net worth of $22.3 billion, steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal with a net worth of $20.7 billon and infotech magnate Aziz Premji with a net worth of $15.9 billion.
Germany is the fifth country in the world with the highest number of wealthy individuals. On the 2012 Forbes List of World’s billionaires3, there are 52 billionaires from Germany. The tenth richest billionaire in the world is Karl Albrecht with a net worth of $25.4 billion. The other German names among the top 50 of the world’s billionaires are Theo Albrecht ranked 20 with a net worth of $17.5 billion, Adolf Merckle at 36th position with a net worth of $11.5 billion and Michael Otto and family ranked 42nd with assets worth$10.4 billion.
Brazil is the only South American country in this list of the top ten countries with the most billionaires. There are forty Brazilians on the list of 2012 World’s Billionaires and this group is led by Eike Batista at seventh global position. Batista’s net worth is $30 billion and the sources of his wealth are mining and oil. Other Brazilians among the top hundred world’s billionaires are Joseph Safra with a net worth of $13.8 billion, Antonio Ermirio Moraes and family with a net worth of $12.2 billion and Jorje Paulo Lemann with a net worth of $12 billion.
The next country with the highest number of wealthiest people is Turkey with 38 billionaires in the 2012 list of global billionaires compiled by Forbes. There are six Turkish individuals among the top 500 billionaires of the world, led by Husnu Ozyegin at 377th position who has a net worth of $3 billion with diversified sources of wealth, including finance. Other names from Turkey among the top 500 global billionaires are Mehmet Emin Karamehmet with a net worth of $2.9 billion, Murat Ülker with assets of $2.8 billion, Semahat Sevim Arsel and Ferit Faik Şahenkwith a net worth of $2.6 billion each and Mustafa Rahmi Koç with net worth of $2.5 billion.
- Hong Kong
The Asian presence on the list of world’s fastest growing economies is further underlined by the fact that Hong Kong has the eighth largest number of billionaires in the world at 36. The richest Hong Kong individual is Sir Ka-shing Li who has $25.5 billion worth of assets and ranks as the ninth richest billionaire in the world. Other names from Hong Kong to figure among the top hundred billionaires of the world are Raymond Kwok and family with net worth of $18.3 billion, Lee Shau Kee with net worth of $18 billion and Chen Yung Tung with a net worth of $16 billion.
- United Kingdom
The sixth-largest economy in the world, United Kingdom is home to thirty-three of its billionaires according to the 2012 Forbes list of World’s billionaires. The UK presence is led by Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor and family who rank seventy-eighth at the global billionaire list with assets worth $11 billion. The next UK citizen to figure among the top hundred of world’s billionaires is brother-duo, David and Simon Reuben whose net worth is believed to be nine billion.
Japan is the economy in the third-largest economy in the world by nominal GDP and fourth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It is also the world's fourth-largest exporter and fourth-largest importer. According to the 2012 Forbes World Billionaire List, Japan has a 22-name strong presence, led by Tadashi Yanai and family with assets worth $10 billion and ranking 88th among the world’s billionaires. Other Japanese names to figure among the top global 200 billionaires are Masayoshi Son, Hiroshi Mikitani as well as Kunio Busujima and family.