Making news

Vietnam has four billionaires in Forbes’ list

Vietnam now has four billionaires named in the annual Forbes list released recently, doubling the number in last year’s rankings.

Besides Pham Nhat Vuong and Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, Thaco Chairman Tran Ba Dng and Hoa Phat Chairman Tran Dinh Long feature in the Forbes 2018 list.

Vuong, owner of real estate conglomerate Vingroup and Vietnam’s first billionaire, has been named for the sixth consecutive time. He is currently the world’s 499th richest person. Vuong also retained his position as Vietnam’s richest man, with a net worth of 4.3 billion USD, a 1.9 billion USD increase compared to last year.

Thao, the world’s 766th richest person, is the chief executive officer of budget carrier VietJet Air. She has assets worth 3.1 billion USD. Vietjet Air operates more than 40 percent of the flights in Vietnam. According to Forbes, besides investing in the airline, Thao also invests in HDBank and real estate, including three beach resorts.

Duong, 57, founded Thaco, the leading automotive manufacturer, assembler and distributor in Vietnam, in 1997. He ranks world No. 1,339 on the Forbes list, with a net worth of 1.8 billion USD. Thaco has recently become a distributor of two luxury cars - BMW and MINI - in the Vietnamese market. By 2016, it had become the largest car company in Vietnam, with a 32 percent share in the automobile market, according to Forbes.

Long, 57, ranks 1,756th in the world in the list of richest persons, with a net worth of 1.3 billion USD. He founded the Hoa Phat steel corporation in 1992. Hoa Phat has had the largest market share for steel in the country. It achieved impressive business results in 2017, earning a profit of 8 trillion VND (351 million USD), the highest in its history, and raising the price of its shares three times. Long holds 25 percent of the group’s shares.

On March 7, Long told Vietnam News that Hoa Phat had a positive outlook for future and expressed hope that the barriers protecting the local steel sector would be removed by 2020. As soon as the Hoa Phat Dung Quat Steel Complex becomes operational, the group’s construction steel capacity would reach four million tonnes per year, double the current amount.

“Hoa Phat will reach a new level of development, with a revenue of 100 trillion VND in the next three years,” Long said.

Topping the Forbes list this year is Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who became world’s first centi-billionaire with a net worth of 112 billion USD, up 39.2 billion USD from 2017. Bill Gates, Microsoft’s co-founder and last year’s richest person, dropped to second place with a net worth of 90 billion USD.

This year saw an 18 percent increase in the number of billionaires around the world and set a record with a total of 2,208 billionaires, with total assets worth 9.1 trillion USD.

The US had the most billionaires at 585, followed by China at 476.

Vietnam had its first US dollar billionaire in 2013.