Fifty Indians, including L.N. Mittal, the Ambani brothers and Azim Premji, have made it to the Forbes list of World Billionaires 2011, as Indians Chinese, Russians and Brazilians raced to catch up with Americans, still at the top.
Indian steel czar Lakshmi Mittal with a net worth of $31.1 billion grabbed the sixth place with net profits of ArcelorMittal, world's largest steel-maker, rising 18-fold to $2.9 billion in 2010 on recovery in demand for the commodity and higher margins.
Mukesh Ambani with a net worth $27 billion was ranked ninth on the world list, while the head of consumer products to outsourcing giant Wipro, Azim Premji, was next ranked 36th with a net worth of $16.8 billion.
"The largest such endowment by an individual in India makes Premji one of Asia's biggest donors," said the magazine, referring to a donation of $2 billion worth of shares last year to a trust to fund his Azim Premji Foundation.
Among the top 10 Indians on the list were Shashi and Ravi Ruia, with a net worth of $15.8 billion, Savitri Jindal and family ($13.2 billion), Gautam Adani ($10 billion), Kumar Mangalam Birla ($9.2 billion), Anil Ambani ($8.8 billion), Sunil Mittal and family ($8.3 billion), and Adi Godrej and family ($7.3 billion).
For the second year in a row, Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim Helu takes the title of world's richest man with a record-breaking fortune of $74 billion. His net worth grew $20.5 billion in a year.
Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, 55, was second again as his net worth rose $3 billion to $56 billion. Warren Buffett, 80, chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., held on to third place with $50 billion.
Mark Zuckerberg, the 26-year-old cofounder and chief executive officer of social-networking website Facebook Inc. jumped to 52nd this year from 212th place last year.
There are now 1,210 billionaires in the world and 214 new members joined the club in 2010, while only 47 dropped off the list last year. The US still dominates, with 413 billionaires, compared to Asia, which came in second with 332.
The US gained 23 new billionaires and lost 13, recording a net gain of 10. Asia cranked out 98 new billionaires last year, and their combined fortunes jumped 37 percent.
The BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries alone accounted for 108 new billionaires, giving them a total of 301. China had the most new billionaires, with 54 and a total of 115. Moscow displaced New York as the city with the greatest number of billionaires with 79, compared with 58.
The Asia-Pacific region had more billionaires than Europe for the first time in more than 10 years and gained the most billionaires of any region, with 105 newcomers.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at email@example.com)