The Top 20 Billionaires of Asia-Pacific

Mukesh Ambani has lost his spot as the richest person in Asia to Hong Kong’s Li Ka-shing

Published: Mar 23, 2012 06:21:27 AM IST
Updated: Mar 23, 2012 04:34:56 PM IST

mg_64472_lika_shing_sm_280x210.jpg Li Ka-shing
GLOBAL RANK: 9
$25.5 BILLION
 HONG KONG, Diversified

Li’s vast empire employs 270,000 people in 53 countries; his businesses have built one out of every 7 residences in Hong Kong, his Hutchison Port Holdings handles about 13% of the world’s container traffic, and his recently acquired Northumbrian Water supplies clean drinking water to 4.5 million people in England and sewerage services to another 2.7 million. 

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Mukesh Ambani
GLOBAL RANK: 19
$22.3 BILLION
 INDIA, Oil & Gas

He is still the world’s richest Indian, but he loses his spot as Asia’s richest. A spat between his oil and gas conglomerate, Reliance Industries, and India’s oil ministry over declining output at KG-D6, India’s largest offshore gas field, has dragged down the market cap of India’s most valuable company. It inked a $7.2 billion deal with BP last year to help increase production. After net profits dropped 14% in the last quarter, company announced $2.1 billion buyback at 10% premium to stock price.

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 Lakshmi Mittal
GLOBAL RANK: 21
$20.7 BILLION
 INDIA, Steel

Mittal lost $10.4 billion in the past year, more than anyone else in the world, and drops out of the top 10 for the first time since 2004. Shares of his ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker, tanked due to surging costs and tepid demand in Europe. Commissioned for the London 2012 Olympics, the 377-foot-tall Mittalfunded ArcelorMittal Orbit is the UK’s tallest sculpture. 

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 Raymond & Thomas
 Kwok & family
GLOBAL RANK: 27
$18.3 BILLION
 HONG KONG, Real Estate

Thomas and Raymond were named joint chairmen of Hong Kong’s biggest real estate developer, SHKP, in September, replacing their mother; value of shares have soared since then on signs of credit easing by China. Feuded with older brother Walter, whom they eliminated from family trusts but who still sits on board.

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Lee Shau Kee
GLOBAL RANK: 29
$18 BILLION
 HONG KONG, Diversified

Property baron upped his stake in his Henderson Land Development by 7 percentage points last year when market was swooning. His Miramar Group has expanded into China’s hot luxury retail market with DKNY Jeans venture.

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Georgina Rinehart
GLOBAL RANK: 29
$18 BILLION  
 AUSTRALIA, Mining

Asia-Pacific’s biggest gainer is now the region’s richest woman. Her fortune doubled to $18 billion thanks to a $10 billion deal signed in January that will see South Korean steel giant Posco take a 15% stake in her yet to-be-developed Roy Hill iron ore mine in Western Australia. Rinehart may not be able to hold on to the assets for long, as 3 of her 4 children are suing her over operation of the family trust.

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 Azim Premji
GLOBAL RANK: 41
$15.9 BILLION
 INDIA, Tech

In a bid to rev up growth, he shuffled the top ranks at his $7 billion (sales) outsourcer Wipro last year, replacing its co-chief executives with another Wipro insider. Donated $2 billion in 2010, some of which was used to fund the Azim Premji University, which opened in 2011.

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 Cheng Yu-Tung
GLOBAL RANK: 39
$16 BILLION  
 HONG KONG, Real Estate

Long-time list member—he has appeared on 25 of 26 Billionaire lists—got $7 billion jolt last year, primarily due to the IPO of his clan’s jewellry business, Chow Tai Fook Jewelry Group. In February the 86-year-old announced he was retiring and that his son Henry will oversee the family’s real estate conglomerate, New World Development.

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Robert Kuok
GLOBAL RANK: 64
$12.4 BILLION
 MALAYSIA, Diversified

His Kuok Group is a sprawling conglomerate controlled by 3 main holding companies in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. Biggest source of wealth is his stake in palm oil giant Wilmar International, run by nephew Kuok Khoon Hong, a Singapore billionaire.

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 Tadashi Yanai & family
GLOBAL RANK: 88
$10 BILLION  
 JAPAN, Retail

His Fast Retailing opened an 89,000-square-foot Uniqlo store in Manhattan—the single largest retail space on Fifth Avenue and the chain’s largest worldwide, until it opens an even bigger one in 2012 in Tokyo’s glitzy Ginza district. The company also owns Theory and Helmut Lang brands. Yanai was heralded in Japan for relief efforts after the earthquake. He personally gave $12 million; company donated $8.5 million in clothes and $3.6 million in funds plus $1.2 million from employees.

Images: Li Ka-shing : Bobby Yip / Reuters; Ambani: Getty Images; Raymond & Thomas Kwok: Jerome Favre / Bloomberg; Mittal: Getty Images; Kee: Timothy O'Rourke / Bloomberg; Yu-Tung: Imaginechina / AP; Rinehart: Ron D'Raine / Bloomberg; Premji: Getty Images; Kuok: Cnimaging / Newscom

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Savitri Jindal & family
GLOBAL RANK: 80
$10.9 BILLION
 INDIA, Diversified

Jindal’s fortune dropped by nearly one-fifth as key companies within family conglomerate stumbled. JSW Steel, run by son Sajjan, was forced to cut production at its unit in Karnataka, where the Supreme Court banned iron ore mining. Shares of Jindal Steel & Power, run by youngest son, Naveen, fell as it got into a tangle with the environment ministry. Naveen is a big donor to his alma mater, the University of Texas at Dallas, which has named its management school after him. 

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Robin Li
GLOBAL RANK: 86
$10.2 BILLION  
 CHINA, Tech

Creator of the most popular search site in the world’s most populous country; his search engine, Baidu, has 78% share in China. He is now gearing up for mobile push, which currently makes up a small percentage of sales but is growing at a rapid pace. Started out as staff engineer in Silicon Valley for Infoseek.

Ananda Krishnan
GLOBAL RANK: 93
$9.9 BILLION  
 MALAYSIA, Telecom

Harvard Business School grad is being probed by Indian government for allegedly using unfair means for his cellphone company, Maxis, to acquire most of mobile firm Aircel. He’s shopping around his power portfolio in Malaysia, South
Asia and the Middle East in a deal that could raise $2 billion.

Lee Kun-Hee
GLOBAL RANK: 106
$8.3 BILLION
 SOUTH KOREA, Samsung

His Samsung Electronics, with sales of $145 billion in fiscal 2011, pulled in record telecom sales in the fourth quarter. As a member of the International Olympic Committee, Lee was influential in the successful campaign to bring the 2018 Winter Olympics to South Korea.

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Liang Wengen
GLOBAL RANK: 113
$8.1 BILLION  
 CHINA, Manufacturing

His Sany Heavy Industry said in January that it would team up with CITIC Private Equity Advisors of China to purchase Putzmeister, one of the world’s largest concrete pump manufacturers, in a deal worth $475 million. In February, Changsha-based company announced manufacturing and sales JVs with equipment maker Palfinger of Germany. Liang is one of 4 Sany executives to make this year’s rankings.

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Sunil Mittal & family
GLOBAL RANK: 113
$8.1 BILLION
 INDIA, Telecom

Rare telecom tycoon untainted by the telecom corruption scandal. With 243 million customers, his Bharti Airtel is world’s fifth-largest telecom firm, with operations in 19 countries. It’s losing money in Africa, a market it entered in 2010 with $9 billion purchase of African unit of Kuwait’s Zain. Faring better at home, where it raised tariffs in bid to end bruising price war and rolled out 3G mobile services. Son Kavin joined Bharti’s new mobile Internet JV with Japan’s Softbank in October. Sunil sits on Unilever’s board.

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Kumar Birla
GLOBAL RANK: 116
$8 BILLION
 INDIA, Commodities

Birla, whose family was the only Indian clan on the first Billionaires list in 1987, chairs the $35 billion (revenues) Aditya Birla Group, a commodities powerhouse named after his late father. It’s among the world’s top 10 producers of cement and Asia’s biggest aluminium producer. Telecom arm Idea Cellular was hit by Supreme Court ruling cancelling 122 telecom licenses in wake of the corruption scandal. However, Idea Cellular was not indicted in the scam.

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Henry Sy & family
GLOBAL RANK: 116
$8 BILLION  
 PHILIPPINES, Diversified

Sy started out in his father’s bodega and then opened a shoe store. He now controls the Philippines’ largest mall developer, with 42 locations; has 5 in China, including one that opened last year. Shares in SM Investments, which makes up bulk of his fortune, popped 50% in past year.

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 Anil Ambani
GLOBAL RANK: 118
$7.8 BILLION
 INDIA, Diversified

Ambani attended his first Academy Awards this year with his DreamWorks Studios’ partner Steven Spielberg to celebrate 11 ominations for 3 of their JV’s movies, The Help, War Horse and Real Steel. Despite patch-up with brother Mukesh that included a much photographed reunion in their late father’s hometown, Ambani continues on a losing streak, down $1 billion in past year and down $34.2
billion from his 2008 peak.

Dilip Shanghvi
GLOBAL RANK: 124
$7.4 BILLION  
 INDIA, Pharmaceuticals

Shanghvi founded and runs Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, India’s most valuable drugmaker. Firm has a new joint venture with Merck & Co. to make branded generics aimed at emerging markets. The US Food & Drug Administration approved Sun’s manufacturing plant in the US, which had been shut down in 2010 after the FDA cited manufacturing violations.

Images:From Top: Madhu Kapparath for Forbes India; Getty Images; Imaginechina / AP; Getty Images; Dinesh Krishnan; Punit Paranjpe / AFP / Newscom; Dinesh Krishnan; Nana Buxani / Bloomberg

(This story appears in the 30 March, 2012 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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  • Saurabh Singh

    The information about the personality was very awesum, it gives a very good detail about the personality and thier bussiness sources

    on Oct 17, 2012
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