Vietnamese developer joins billionaire Asians—Forbes

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Pham Nhat Vuong PHOTO FROM FORBES.COM

WASHINGTON—A Vietnamese property developer who started out making noodles in Ukraine joined mega-rich Hong Kong magnate Li Ka-shing for the first time on Forbes magazine’s world’s billionaires list Monday.

Cheung Kong and Hutchison Whampoa chief Li were no surprise as Asia’s richest and the world’s eighth richest man, his fortune hitting $31 billion, thanks in part to Hong Kong’s unending property boom.

Less known was 44 year old Pham Nhat Vuong, who pushed onto the list at number 974 with a net worth put at $1.5 billion, a landmark achievement for Vietnam 27 years after the country gingerly launched its “doi moi” economic opening.

Pham earned the slot based on his 53 percent control of real estate developer Vingroup, Forbes said.

A Soviet-trained mathematician and economist, Pham got his taste for business launching a Vietnamese restaurant in Ukraine and turned that into an instant noodles company he sold in 2010 to Nestle for $150 million, Forbes said.

In the meantime he had been putting money into property in Vietnam as it opened up, starting with a luxury resort hotel and then a Hanoi office tower.

With regional stocks having sunk over the past three years, Asian billionaires have lost some of their presence at the top end of the annual Forbes list.

Hong Kong had the most in the top 100, thanks to the city’s real estate gains.

But overall the second-richest Asian was India’s oil and gas magnate Mukesh Ambani, coming in at 22nd with a fortune built on his huge Reliance Industries group, put at $21.5 billion.

Ambani was followed closely at number 24 and 26, respectively, by Hong Kong property stalwarts Lee Shau Kee (Henderson Land, $20.3 billion), and the Kwok brothers Thomas and Raymond (Sun Hung Kai) $20 billion).

India’s Lakshmi Mittal was number 41 with $16.5 billion and New World shipping founder Cheng Yu-tung of Hong Kong was 45th at $16 billion.

Coming in at number 58 was Thailand’s Dhanin Chearavanont, head of the Charoen Pokphand food and industrial conglomerate, his fortune by Forbes’ estimate seen to have doubled over the past year to $14.3 billion.

China, the world’s second-largest economy, placed 122 people on the Forbes list, which identified 1,426 billionaires worldwide. The US was first with 442.

The richest Chinese, Wahaha beverage owner Zong Qinghou, only came in at 86th with $11.6 billion, up from $6.5 billion a year ago.

Second among the Chinese was Wang Jianlin, chairman of the Dalian Wanda property group, who with $8.6 billion ranked number 128.

The full Forbes list is at http://www.forbes.com/billionaires/ .

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Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • rodben

    Isama nyo na si Abad, Suliman at Rosales sa kanila..

  • Ajuoy

    Si Binay, Enrile , at Estrada wala pa as Forbes list? Hmmmm. Siguro as 2016 pag nanalo si Binay as presidente Baka Talunin pa Nya si Henry Sy. Kaya iboto nyo si Nancy Binay at may purong dugong Pinoy as Forbes list- sa pangalan ni Jejomar Bibay. Dahil malaki ang reserve ng Philippines na mamanahin Nya Kay Pnoy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003516764413 Jean Claude

    his net worth is not even 1/7 of Henry Sy’s net worth. Why is this news!?

    • CmdrAdobo

      You are talking like you’re one of the billionaire club.

      Of course. 44 yrs old billionaire must be heard, and the first vietnamese billionaire. how’s that?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003516764413 Jean Claude

        so what? 44 yrs old is old. Shock me if he is 25. But no. 44 is old already. not a shocker. If he were Filipino he wont even be in the top 15 richest.

      • CmdrAdobo

        and how old are you? You got billion $?

      • http://twitter.com/neps365 Prince Neps

        My God! I can not fathom your ignorance. Look at your comment — better yet, read them. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003516764413 Jean Claude

        sorry ha to tell you the truth. kung 40 plus old ka na… old ka na. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Q3QGG5QHBLRMZTIYWUFURY6J2E Night

    what an idol

  • upupperclassman

    Follow the full list and you will find the top ten richest from Philippines. The Ayalas and the Gokongweis must be laughing and sneering at the listing. It only shows Forbes Magazine is lacking in credibility.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003516764413 Jean Claude

      it’s because their wealth are listed under their company’s name, similar to Manny Pangilinan.

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