"One country stands out on Asia’s 50 Richest Families but not one industry," noted Forbes Asia, as it brought out its list of Asia’s 50 Richest Families. Indians constitute more than a third of the latest list, with 17 out of the 50 chosen names being Indian in origin of operations but global in scale.
With a combined wealth of $153.61 billion, there are names that have held and strengthened their spots as well as those making their debut. While the Ambani, Hinduja, Premji, Mittal, Bajaj, Birla, Godrej, Bangur, Mittal, Burman, Munjal, Patel, Jindal, and Lal families are the old-timers, the Piramal family of Piramal Enterprises fame; the Singh family of real estate major DLF; and finally, the Dhingra family, the seller of India's second largest paints and emulsions; are the debutants. Interestingly, the overall list features only four newcomers, three of which are Indian.
South Korea’s Lee family that owns and runs the Samsung Group maintained their top spot two years in a row, with a $29.6 billion fortune to their name, which is $3 billion higher than their last year's figure of $26.6 billion. At No. 2 was a Thai name, the Chearavanont family, with a net worth of $27.7 billion.
With $25.8 billion, the Ambanis topped India’s batch of names and came in third overall. Their $21.5 billion fortune from last year went up by $4.5 billion this year.
Piramal Enterprises just managed to break into the list, and their No. 50 position was largely due to the surge by "more than 80 percent in the past 12 months on news that it’s considering creating a financial services listed entity," writes Forbes. The Singh family's DLF's stocks registered a 25-percent hike on the BSE. The Dhingra family has a similar story, as their shares went up by over 60 percent in the last year after a reported spike in net profit in the latest quarter.
The diversity in the industries of the top five names is also noteworthy — the families deal in 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.”