|From left to right: VietJet Air CEO Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, Vingroup chairman Pham Nhat Vuong, Hoa Phat chairman Tran Dinh Long, Thaco chairman Tran Ba Duong. Photo by VnExpress.
Pham Nhat Vuong, owner of real estate conglomerate Vingroup and Vietnam's first billionaire, enjoyed his sixth consecutive appearance on the list, being the world's 499th richest person this year. Vuong also retained his position as Vietnam's richest man with a net worth of US$4.3 billion, a US$1.9 billion increase compared to last year.
CEO of budget carrier VietJet Air Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao also had her second appearance on the list as the 766th richest person in the world. Vietnam's richest woman had an estimated net worth of US$3.1 billion, nearly three times her wealth when she made her debut appearance last year with US$1.2 billion.
Forbes magazine's list this year also sees the debut appearance of two other Vietnamese: Tran Ba Duong, chairman of Truong Hai Auto Corporation (Thaco) and Tran Dinh Long, chairman of Hoa Phat Corporation.
Duong, 57, was ranked 1339th in the list with a net worth of US$1.8 billion. He founded Thaco to sell cars in 1997 and the company later started assembling cars for foreign brands such as Kia, Mazda, Peugeot, as well as producing its own buses and trucks. Thaco became the biggest car company in Vietnam with a 32% share in the automobile market by 2016, according to Forbes.
Meanwhile Long, 57, was listed as world's 1756th richest person with a net worth of US$1.3 billion. He founded Hoa Phat as an equipment and parts distributor in Hanoi in 1992. The company is currently considered the biggest steel maker in Vietnam, providing the market with office equipment, steel pipes and construction steel.
Vietnam's fish sauce magnet Nguyen Dang Quang, who was named Vietnam's third billionaire in January by Bloomberg Billionaires Index, didn't make the Forbes list. Bloombeg estimated the chairman and founder of Masan Group's total assets at US$1.2 billion.
Topping the Forbes list this year was Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who became world's first centi-billionaire with a net worth of US$112 billion, up US$39.2 billion from 2017. Bill Gates, Microsoft's co-founder and last year's richest person, dropped to second place with a net worth of US$90 billion.
Gates is followed by Berkshire Hathaway chief Warren Buffett (US$84 billion), CEO and chairman of luxury goods empire LVMH Bernard Arnault (US$72 billion) and Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg (US$71 billion) rounded out the top five.
This is the 32nd year Forbes magazine has compiled its list of world's billionaires. This year's list sees a record 2,208 billionaires with a combined wealth of US$9.1 trillion, an 18% increase from last year.
The US still had the most billionaires with 585, followed by China with 476.