Mumbai: The rise in the number of Indians with wealth exceeding ₹1,000 crore in the Hurun India rich list, including 270 new affluent individuals, contrasts sharply with declines in China and the UK, as well as stagnant growth in Europe, a top executive said.This trend reveals significant disparities in growth, said Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman of Hurun Global, a research group that publishes authoritative lists of the wealthiest individuals worldwide.

According to the Hurun India Rich List 2023, there are 1,319 individuals with wealth over Rs 1,000 crore in the country, marking an increase of 216 individuals and 278 new entrants. This is the first time the list has surpassed the 1,300 mark, recording a 76% increase over the last five years.

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Hoogewerf, who has been chronicling the wealthy since 1998, said he sees a lot of confidence in Indian businessmen compared to their peers in other parts of the world.

“Businessmen in India seem to believe that next year will be better whereas in China they feel that next year will be worse. I also don’t sense optimism in Europe,” he said.

The Hurun chairman, who started the list business 25 years ago in China, said the India Rich List differs in composition compared to its Chinese equivalent. “In Indian entrepreneurship, the standout is its family-based structure, with robust businesses spanning generations. This continuity contrasts with China’s lack of multi-generational enterprises, though it (family-based business structure) presents a double-edged sword – fostering tradition but potentially hindering innovation,” he said.So, have there been shifts in sectors producing wealthy entrepreneurs in China recently, a trend that could later be observed in India Inc as it grows in size? “Our lists indicate a significant transformation, with 80% turnover in individuals over the past decade, largely driven by emerging sectors like new energy, semiconductors, and AI, while traditional industries like real estate and manufacturing have seen declines,” Hoogewerf said.

He said India, Germany, and Japan stand out as exceptionally robust, with a significant presence of family businesses, and this translated into a considerable accumulation of generational wealth. “In contrast, the US demonstrates a different pattern, with approximately 60%-70% of businesses being first-generation,” he said. “Meanwhile, in mainland China, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, the figure stands at around 95% for first-generation businesses.”

The Hurun founder said he is currently observing two major trends that could generate significant wealth in the coming years: the powerful AI trend, which has resulted in a valuation jump of $700-800 billion for Microsoft, and the impending renewable energy and electric vehicle (EV) revolution, which is particularly prominent in China and expected to unfold in 2024 after extensive groundwork over two decades.

A big challenge while creating lists for wealthy people in emerging economies like India and China is that there are many who operate private businesses in less glamorous sectors and prefer to maintain a low profile. So, how does Hurun deal with such cases? “Indeed, we’ve conducted a thorough analysis of these individuals,” Hoogewerf said. “However, let’s consider a scenario where out of 1,300 individuals valued at Rs 1,000 crore each, we estimate that we’ve missed at least 30%, if not 50%,” he added. Approximately 60% of those who miss on Hurun’s lists operate discreetly .


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