The financial sector, which includes real estate, still accounts for most of Asia’s richest families’ wealth, according to FinanceAsia's annual Rich List.
In China and Hong Kong, it makes up around 60% of the pie, but notable exceptions are in India, where information technology businesses fuel 56% of the country’s leading families’ wealth, compared with 4% from financials, and Taiwan, where the proportions are 37% and 28% respectively.
The performance of our FA Rich List 2015 index is highly correlated against the MSCI All Country Asia ex-Japan index. Perhaps this is unsurprising given the high representation of tycoon-controlled stocks in the MSCI index, although these stocks out-performed towards the end of the period.
Several lower-ranked tycoons from Southeast Asia dropped out of the list, the numbers from China and India continued to rise, and the names from Hong Kong and Macau remained pretty constant.
Prominent figures to drop out of the list included Lakshmi Mittal, boss of steel giant ArcelorMittal, which passed on making a dividend payment due to a disastrous year for the industry, and Thailand’s Krit Ratanarak, who cut his stake in reliable cash-cow Bank of Ayudhya to 14%. Peter Sondakh, head of Indonesia’s Rajawali is also missing, following his sale of shares in Express Transindo Utama. SJM’s Pansy Ho shared the pain felt by many Macau casino operators.
There were newcomers to the list from India’s burgeoning healthcare sector, including Sudhir
and Samir Mehta’s Torrent Pharmaceuticals, (54) which increased sales by more than 50% and tripled last year’s dividend pay-out. Pankaj Patel (75) also joined the list, as his Cadila Healthcare increased earnings per share by 55% and hiked its dividend by a third.
|India's top five|
|Rank||Leader of the family||Companies||
|1||Ratan Tata||Tata Sons||$808.846|
|2||Cyrus Pallonji Mistry||Tata Sons||$288.730|
|3||Mukesh Ambani||Reliance Industries||$197.473|
|5||Shiv Nadar||HCL Technologies||$152.235|
On the other hand, Dilip Shanghvi (86) was also a new entry, despite his Sun Pharmaceuticals Industries posting a loss.
Nevertheless, despite the growing presence of new economy entrepreneurs, the usual conglomerate-controlling families dominate corporate India. Ratan Tata (4), who recently took back temporary control of the Tata Group after ousting Cyrus Pallonji Mistry (13), is the highest-ranked, Mukesh Ambani (26) is further extending petro-chemical giant Reliance Industry’s reach into telecoms.
Find out who made the top 10 in our Rich List and why Hong Kong's Li Ka-shing was knocked off his perch at the top of the table. Tomorrow, we look at the richest in more Asian countries.