SINGAPORE (Aug 27): Asia is, without a doubt, home to a fast-growing number of the world’s richest people. For the first time, Asian billionaires have outnumbered their US counterparts, on the back of the rise of China’s entrepreneurs. A new billionaire is created in Asia every other day, according to UBS and PwC in a joint report on the billionaire set. There were 162 new billionaires in Asia in 2016, compared with 39 in the US and 24 in Europe. However, while the US still commanded most of the wealth, Asia is likely to overtake it in four years, if the current trend of growth continues.

Mukesh Ambani, chairman of conglomerate Reliance Industries, is Asia’s richest man. He is worth US$44.3 billion ($60.7 billion), according to some estimates. Following close behind is Alibaba Group Holding founder Jack Ma, who is reportedly worth US$44 billion.

Many of the region’s richest families can be found in Southeast Asia. Malaysia’s Kuok family, led by patriarch Robert Kuok, is worth US$14.8 billion, according to Forbes Asia. The Kuok family derived much of its wealth from its commodities trading business in the 20th century, and has now expanded into other businesses such as property and hospitality. Indonesia’s Widjaja family, helmed by Eka Tjipta Widjaja, is worth US$9.1 billion, according to Forbes Asia. The Widjaja family gained much of its wealth from a variety of businesses, such as paper, real estate, financial services, agribusiness and telecoms.

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