Asia is home to more people than any other continent. It’s also rapidly become the world’s most important region for business, finance, and high-tech industries. What does this mean for Asia’s wealthiest individuals? They’re getting richer faster than ever before. This list of the five richest people in Asia includes traditional Asian billionaires and some new names you might not recognize yet.
1. Mukesh Ambani
Net Worth: $85.2 billion
Mukesh Ambani is in the top spot.
Mukesh Ambani was born in 1957; he is a business magnate and the chairman, managing director, and largest shareholder of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), a Fortune Global 500 company and India’s most valuable company by its market value. He also serves as the chairman of Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (formerly known as Reliance Telecom Limited), which provides a 4G LTE service under the brand name Jio with an ultra-low-cost voice call service for Phones Under Rs 1,000. The younger brother of Anil Ambani, Mukesh Ambani, was ranked by Forbes as India’s richest man from 2002 to 2008 and again in 2013 after regaining the title from steel baron Lakshmi Mittal due to an increase in share prices of his petrochemicals corporation RIL.
2. Zhong Shanshan
Net Worth: $58.7 Billion
In the world of business, few women have made their mark. One of them is Zhong Shanshan. According to Forbes magazine, she is a Chinese businesswoman who has a net worth of US$58.7 billion, making her the wealthiest woman in Asia.
Zhong was born in 1958 and had humble beginnings as a farmer’s daughter in Anhui province before moving to Shenzhen, where she started her career as an accountant at Shenzhen Xinyi Real Estate Company, one of China’s first private real estate companies after it received permission from the Chinese government to operate independently in 1979 under Deng Xiaoping’s economic liberalization policies following Mao Zedong’s death.
3. Jack Ma
Net Worth: $56.7 billion
Jack Ma is a Chinese business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. He is the founder and executive chairman of the Alibaba Group, a family of successful Internet-based businesses. With an estimated net worth of $57.8 billion as of October 2018, he became China’s richest person in 2015, according to Hurun Report. He was again confirmed as such by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index in 2019 (with his wealth rising to US$64.5 billion).
Ma has been one of Asia’s most high-profile entrepreneurs since founding Alibaba in 1999. He is one of six people with an official “World Record” from Yahoo! Internet Life for being among the first group of people to sign up for an email account on January 11, 1996; he also holds records for other things, including being listed in both Forbes magazine’s list and Time Magazine’s top 100 most influential people list.
4. Pony Ma
Net Worth: $51.7 billion
Pony Ma is the founder of Tencent, which is the largest internet company in China. The technology giant owns several online services with over a billion users worldwide, including WeChat and QQ.
Tencent Holdings Limited (SEHK: 700) is a public company based in Hong Kong and one of Asia’s most valuable companies. The firm offers various products and services to people across China and worldwide, ranging from instant messaging to gaming apps.
The company operates several platforms that cater to different demographics; its social media sites include QQ Zone (for young adults), WeChat (for millennials), Weibo (for general audiences), and more traditional networking features like messaging apps like QQ Mail or video sharing site Youku Tudou Incorporation Limited.
5. Li Ka-Shing
Net Worth: $32.3 billion
Li Ka-Shing is the richest man in Asia. He’s also the world’s 25th wealthiest person.
Ka-Shing was born in China and moved to Hong Kong when he was 16 years old, where he began working at his uncle’s plastics factory. Today, Li is a businessman who has founded over 200 companies with interests ranging from real estate to health care. His net worth of $32 billion makes him the richest person in Asia.
He made his first appearance on Forbes’ list of billionaires in 2008 as its first Chinese representative since 1997 when it listed Li Ka-Shing as having a fortune worth $18 billion; he has since climbed up to ninth place on that same list with an estimated worth today of $33 billion (or roughly £27bn).
The Richest in Asia
The rich are different from you and me. They have a lot more money, for one thing. This can be used to build grand houses filled with fine art, purchase sports teams, or simply pay for the most expensive wine on earth (and not just any old bottle of Château Lafite Rothschild either). But what about the richest people in Asia? How do they differ from their Western counterparts? We’ve done some research and will give you all the details.
As the above list shows, Asia is a continent full of business opportunities. When you decide to start your own business in Asia, you need to know who some of the most successful entrepreneurs are so that you can learn from their experiences and what they did right.