Asia is home to the lion’s share of billionaires on the planet with 608 individuals, followed by North America with 440 billionaires and Europe 324, according to The Hurun Global Rich List.
Released by the Hurun Report, the study says there were 1,453 people around the world with a personal wealth of $1 billion or more as of January.
Among individual countries, the United States and China dominated with 408 and 317 citizens respectively on the list, followed by Russia, Germany and India.
Mexican telecoms czar Carlos Slim, 73, was ranked as the “Richest Man on the Planet” with a personal fortune of $66 billion. Slim also topped the Forbes magazine annual global rich list last year.
US investor Warren Buffett and Amancio Ortega of Spain, founder of fashion brand Zara, were second and third in the Hurun Report list with net worth of $58 billion and $55 billion respectively.
It estimated the total wealth of the world’s dollar billionaires at $5.5 trillion, roughly the size of the Japanese economy last year.
The youngest person on this year’s Hurun Global Rich List is 28 year old Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (US$17bn, rank 42) while the oldest billionaires on the list are 98 year old David Rockefeller Sr (US$2.6bn, rank 550) and Taiwanese Lin Yu-Chia (US$1.2bn, rank 1191).
Real estate, telecommunications, media and technology and retail were the most common sources of wealth, says the report.
Real estate produced the most billionaires – 219, accounting for 16% of the entire list. The wealthiest individual in this category is HK-based Li Ka-shing. Seven of the Top 10 real estate tycoons in the world are living in China, predominantly in HK but also with two from mainland China, a reflection of the urbanisation boom of the last generation. Two of the other three are from the UK and one from the US. See table below for breakdown.
Telecoms media and technology (TMT) comes in just behind real estate with 200 billionaires, led by Mexico's Slim. Investments is the third top billionaire-producing industry with 169 individuals, Warren Buffet being top of this sector, having net worth of US$58bn.