Record number of Filipinos among ‘richest people on the planet’

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Record number of Filipinos among ‘richest people on the planet’
Joining the 14 Filipinos who are dollar-billionaires in 2017 are Ramon Ang, Injap Sia, Eduardo Cojuangco and Roberto Ongpin

MANILA, Philippines – The number of Filipinos who made it to Forbes’ 2017 list of “richest people on the planet” reaches 14. This is a record count since businessmen from the Philippines first joined the ranks of World Billionaires in 2003.

In the previous lists of individuals with net worth of at least US$1 billion, only Henry Sy Sr and Lucio Tan were the constant. Eleven made the cut in 2016.

Ramon Ang and Edgar “Injap” Sia are first-timers in the global elite list. Eduardo Cojuangco and Roberto Ongpin, who were dropped in previous lists, are back.

Sia, 40, is the youngest Filipino with a ten-figure fortune. He joins almost 70 other dollar billionaires who are 40 and below.

No female business person from the Philippines ever made it to Forbes’ annual billionaire ranking, which is now on its 31st release.

RECORD NUMBER. From only 2 Filipinos on the list in 2003, 14 Filipinos have now made it to Forbes' World Billionaires List in 2017.

Losers, gainers

The aggregate wealth of the 14 Filipino dollar-billionaires is $45.8 billion. Their average net worth is $3.27 billion.

Sy, who has been the richest Filipino billionaire since 2005, is now worth $12.7 billion, lower than his $12.9 billion estimated wealth the year before. 

TOP OF THE LIST. In this file photo, Filipino-Chinese property tycoon Henry Sy Sr arrives for the opening of one of his shopping malls, the SM Aura, in Manila on May 16, 2013. File photo by Ted Aljibe/AFP

He is the only Filipino to be among the 100 wealthiest in the world. He placed #94 in the 2017 World Billionaires list, down from his previous 73rd.  

Joining him in having a lower global rank this year are Lucio Tan (#501 rank; $3.7 billion net worth), Andrew Tan (#814; $2.5 billion), George Ty (#544; $3.5 billion), David Consunji (#630; $3.1 billion), Manuel Villar (#1376; $1.5 billion), and Robert Coyuito Jr (#1376; $1.5 billion).

Andrew Tan lost the most. His estimated net worth fell $500 million to $2.5 billion.

The biggest gainer is Enrique Razon Jr who added $1 billion to his net worth, currently estimated at $3.4 billion. The ports and casino tycoon is now at #564 place, higher than his previous #722 ranking.

Also higher in rank are John Gokongwei (#250; $5.8 billion) and Tony Tan Caktiong (#564; $3.5 billion).

Not in the list

Spouses Lucio and Susan Co of retailer Puregold fail to make the cut this time. They were part of the past 3 annual lists. However, Forbes’ real-time accounting of the global billionaires pegs the Cos’ net worth at $1.9 billion as of March 20, 2017.

Others whose net worth made the $1 billion cutoff on real-time but are not included in the World Billionaires List are Jaime Zobel de Ayala, Iñigo and Mercedes Zobel, Emilio Yap, Andrew Gotianun, Jon Ramon Aboitiz, and Dean Lao.

“The Forbes Billionaires list is a snapshot of wealth taken on February 17, 2017; we used stock prices and exchange rates from around the world to calculate net worths. Some fortunes have changed considerably since then,” the US-based business magazine explained.

It added: “We list individuals rather than multigenerational families who share large fortunes, though we include wealth belonging to a billionaire’s spouse and children if that person is the founder of the fortune.”

Record number of billionaires 

Forbes now counts 2,043 billionaires in the world, a record high. Of this, 233 were added from the 2016 list.

Their total net worth reached $7.67 trillion, up 18% from the year before.

Bill Gates remains on top with $86 billion fortune. Trailing him are Warren Buffet ($75.6 billion), Jeff Bezos ($72.8 billion), Amancio Ortega of Zara ($71.3 billion), Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook ($56 billion), and Carlos Slim Helu of Mexico ($54.5 billion).

The US remains home to most number of billionaires, with a record 565. China is catching up with 319. (Hong Kong has another 67.) Germany has the 3rd most with 114, while India is 4th with 101. –

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