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Asia’s new billionaire capital revealed

Indian financial hub Mumbai now has the world’s third-highest concentration of mega-rich, after New York and London

Indian financial capital Mumbai has overtaken Beijing to become Asia’s ‘billionaire capital’ for the first time, according to a global rich list published on Monday by the Shanghai-based Hurun Research Institute. The number of billionaires in the Indian financial hub rose to 92, the third-highest tally in the world after New York (119) and London (97). Notably, Indian capital New Delhi broke into the top ten for the first time.  

Overall, India has 271 billionaires, the third-highest tally on the planet, behind only China (814) and the US (800), according to the institute.   

Mukesh Ambani, the owner of Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries, retained his position as the richest Indian with a net worth of $115 billion, which also makes him the richest man in Asia. Ambani made headlines earlier this month for the lavish pre-wedding party of his youngest son, Anant. Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani ($86 billion), whose wealth has surged by 33%, is the second richest Indian on the list.  

“India has had a super strong year… confidence in the economy grew to record levels,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman and chief researcher of the Hurun Report. He also noted that artificial intelligence (AI) has been a major driver of the trend, generating over half of all new wealth this year. 

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Passengers queue along a platform to board the Chennai-bound Coromandel Express at Shalimar station near Kolkata on June 7, 2023.
India’s top 1% holds 40% of country’s wealth – study 

The number of billionaires in India has risen rapidly since the country reformed its economic policy in 1991 to allow more foreign investment. However, the disparity in wealth between the top 1% and the rest of the country has reached historic highs. A recent research paper, co-authored by economists Kumar Bharti, Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, and Anmol Somanchi, claims that wealth in India is now more unequal than during British colonial rule. The share of national wealth of the top 1% stood at 40.1% in 2022-23, according to the paper. 

Meanwhile, the Indian economy continues to strengthen significantly, posting GDP growth of 8.4% between October and December 2023, the fastest pace in six quarters. The South Asian country is poised to become the third largest economy in the world within the next three years, according to various analysts.  

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