17 Indian families among Forbes 'Asia's 50 Richest' list

Ambani family ranked third with $25.8 billion wealth; three Indian families make their debut on the list

Published: Nov 10, 2016

Starting out as a newswire journalist covering beats as diverse as business, politics, entertainment, crime, civic affairs, cricket and defence, I was keen to pursue a career in print or broadcast journalism. But the emerging world of multimedia storytelling promised a fascinating future, and I changed my focus to digital media more than a decade ago. Before Forbes India, I have worked for organisations such as ANI, Money Control, Arabian Business, Yahoo India and VFS Global. I hold master's degrees in Communication Studies (University of Pune, India) and Journalism (University of Westminster, London, UK).

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Three generations of the Bangurs: (From left) Son Hari Mohan Bangur , father Benu Gopal Bangur and grandson Prashant Bangur

Families from India made up more than one-third of the latest list of Asia’s 50 Richest Families, Forbes Asia said in a statement on Thursday.

With a combined wealth of $153.61 billion, as many as 17 entries in the 2016 list hail from India, including the Ambani, Hinduja, Premji, Mittal, Bangur, Mittal and Burman families, to name a few.

South Korea’s Lee family, the eminent name behind the Samsung Group, topped the overall list for the second year in a row. Its combined wealth grew to $29.6 billion, up from $26.6 billion last year. Thailand’s Chearavanont family rose to the No. 2 spot, with a net worth of $27.7 billion.

India’s foremost spot was taken by the Ambani family (No. 3, $25.8 billion), who saw their wealth rise from $21.5 billion last year.

The last two positions among the top five were taken by Hong Kong-based families: the Kwok family (No. 4, $25.2 billion) and the Lee family (No. 5, $24.7 billion) of Henderson Development.

Business interests of the top five families in the list span technology, livestock producers, real estate and oil and gas. Collectively, the top 50 families in the 2016 Forbes list of Asia’s Richest Families are worth $519 billion.

Tim Ferguson, Editor of Forbes Asia, said: “Sources of Asian wealth are broadening. You can see that among the rich families here, and even within many of the families - no particular sectors of the economy dominate. For those aiming to be among Asia's richest, it's a very wide world.”

The minimum net wealth to qualify for the list was $3.4 billion, up from $2.9 billion a year ago.


One of the standout performers in the list was the India-based Bangur family (No. 32, $5.75 billion), led by patriarch Benu Gopal Bangur. The family’s shares in their company, Shree Cement, soared nearly 35%, buoyed by rising sales and falling coal prices. Now run by Benu Gopal’s son Hari Mohan and grandson Prashant, the firm’s revenues exceed $1 billion, with a market capitalization of $8.7 billion, Forbes said.

Three Indian families made their debut on the list, including the Singh family (No. 43, $4.26 billion), whose real estate company DLF is listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange; the Dhingra family (No. 48, $3.6 billion) who own India’s second largest paint maker (Kolkata-based Berger Paints); and the Piramal family (No. 50, $3.4 billion), whose business interests range from real estate to healthcare.

The Asia’s Richest Families list computed wealth using stock prices and currency exchange rates from the close of business on October 28, 2016.

“Private companies were valued based on similar companies that are publicly traded. To qualify, a family’s wealth must be rooted in Asia and participation in building that fortune has to extend at least three generations,” Forbes Asia said.

Click here to view the full 2016 Forbes list of Asia’s Richest Families

(Mukesh Ambani is the chairman of Reliance Industries Ltd, which owns Network 18, publisher of Forbes India)

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