Anyone who has been to India has seen the poverty. Mumbai is home to one of the largest slums in the world. India's per capita income is the lowest of the big four emerging markets, thanks in part to its 1.2 billion inhabitants. China has about 150,000 more people, and it's median income is around five times that of India's.
It's often hard to believe how far India has gone. For a democratic society that has elections and political ideologues to deal with (unlike China), it's done well for itself. India has been churning out billionaires by the month. The last year saw India's old and new one-percents grow in ranks thanks to their stock equity gains and entrepreneurship in new tech-driven businesses that are catering to a growing working and middle class India. The number of Indians on the Forbes billionaire list rose to 101 from 84 last year, and while some family wealth is seen shrinking as it gets passed on two an average of two siblings per family, new money is coming up the ranks quickly.
"It's record number historically (and) it means every 33 days brought a new Indian billionaire to the list last year," says Fakhri Ahmadov, managing director at Ahmadoff & Company, a U.K. based wealth advisory firm. "We have always imagined Indian private capital to be in the hands of ‘old wealth’ rather than self-made entrepreneurs, however our research explains that self-made entrepreneurs, but self-made account for around 65% of the wealth of billionaires and it has been stabilized at this ratio since 2010," he says.
Reducing poverty also introduces new opportunities for entrepreneurs who both understand basic needs of society and can execute on the business side of things, often in any given economic situation. Healthcare and pharmaceuticals have added 10 business founders to the FORBES billionaires list in the last seven years, more than any industry in India. Retail added another seven billionaires during that period, Ahmadov said in a report dated April 8.
Two things have been major contributors to India's new wealth: fast economic growth in consumer retail goods and redistribution of wealth along billionaire family lines, often creating new billionaires, especially in rupees. The Ahmadoff & Company report is for wealth managers looking to find where India's well-heeled are making their next billion. India has seen a new billionaire added to the FORBES list almost every month since 2010.