Forbes said Monday that Pham Vuong’s net worth rose to US$ 1.7 billion in 2015 from US$1.6 billion last year. That put him at the 1,118 ranking in the list of 1,826 billionaires that combined are worth US$7.05 trillion.
Forbes said 46-year-old Vuong spent the past year expanding his conglomerate's real estate business.
He launched dozens of new projects of which the most notable is the US$1.5 billion Vinhomes Central Park, which will feature an 81-story skyscraper, expected to be the tallest building in Vietnam, dozens of apartment buildings and a park modeled after New York City's Central Park.
Vuong is also building a theme park complex in Phu Quoc Island. Vingroup's expansion into retail is underway with 25 Vincom shopping centers due to open this year.
In the next three years he wants to open 100 supermarkets (VinMart) and 1,000 convenient stores, according to Forbes.
Vuong studied in Moscow then moved to Ukraine where he started Technocom, an instant noodle producer.
He returned to Vietnam in 2001 to plunge into real estate, eventually selling his foods company in 2009 to Nestle. Vingroup's other assets include hotels, education and healthcare.
Bill Gates continues to be the richest man in the world — a title he has had for 16 of the last 21 years. His assets have increased to US$79.2 billion despite giving US$1.5 billion to his charity, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
In second place is Mexican telecommunications mogul Carlos Slim Helu, with a net worth of US$77.1 billion. He had topped the list in 2013.
Next is investor Warren Buffett, who moved up one slot this year with a net worth of US$72.7 billion. In fourth place is Amancio Ortega, the Spanish co-founder of clothing retail chain Zara, with a net worth of US$64.5 billion.
Rounding out the top five is Larry Ellison, founder of technology company Oracle Corp., with US$54.3 billion.