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March 1, 2002 | 1415 IST
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5 Indians in Forbes billionaires list

Five prominent Indians -- Azim Premji, Dhirubhai Ambani, Kumarmanagalam Birla, Lakshmi Mittal and Shiv Nadar figure in the coveted list of the world's top 500 billionaires, according to Forbes magazine.

Premji, chairman of the Wipro group, is worth $6.4 billion and tops the Indian list. He occupies 41st position in the Forbes list.

He is followed by Ambani of the Reliance group with a net worth of $2.9 billion, occupying 138th position.

Birla, heading the Aditya Biral Group with a worth of $2.1 billion is at 200th position, followed by Mittal at 327th position with $1.4 billion.

IT giant HCL's Shiv Nadar occupies 378th position and is worth $1.2 billion. He owns 78 per cent stake in HCL Technologies.

The list shows that the US is the land of billionaires with 243 richest persons led by Bill Gates with a worth of $58.8 billion.

China has only one billionaire - Liu Yongxing Youghao -but another twelve live in Hong Kong. Germany has 35 billionaires, Japan 25, Canada and France 15 each, Britain, Switzerland and Italy 13 each and Mexico 12.

The number of billionaires has come down to 497 this year from 538 last year.

It includes 28 newcomers and 12 returnees but for every billionaire who joined or returned to the coveted list, two others departed, Forbes said in its 16 annual report.

Of those who made to the final list, 50 per cent saw their net worth fall. It rose for 23 per cent and 19 per cent held steady.

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