Fifteen Filipinos were included in the latest list of 2,095 billionaires compiled by Forbes magazine in March 2020 despite the coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak.
Manuel Villar, the 70-year-old real estate tycoon who runs Starmalls, Vista & Landscapes and Golden Haven Memorial Park, ranked as the richest Filipino with a net worth of $5.6 billion. Globally, Villar ranked at 286th, according to www.forbes.com/billionaires.
Enrique Razon Jr., the 60-year-od port magnate who runs ICTSI and Bloombery Resorts, ranked second in the Philippines with $3.4 billion.
Six children of of the late retail tycoon Henry Sy also made the list.
They included Hans Sy with $2 billion, Herbert Sy with $1.9 billion, Harley Sy with $1.9 billion, Henry Sy Jr. with $1.9 billion, Teresita Sy-Coson with $1.8 billion and Elizabeth Sy with $1.6 billion.
Other Filipinos in the list were Andrew Tan with $1.9 billion, Roberto Ongpin with $1.7 billion, Lucio Tan with $1.7 billion, Tony Tan Caktion with $1.7 billion, Ramon Ang with $1.4 billion, Robert Coyiuto Jr. with $1.4 billion and Eduardo Cojuangco with $1 billion.
Forbes said there were 2,095 billionaires on the 2020 ranking, down from 2,153 in 2019. The total combined net worth of this year’s billionaires was $8 trillion, down from $8.7 trillion in 2020.
"As of March 18, when we finalized this list, Forbes counted 2,095 billionaires, 58 fewer than a year ago and 226 fewer than just 12 days earlier, when we initially calculated these net worths. Of the billionaires who remain, 51 percent are poorer than they were last year. In raw terms, the world’s billionaires are worth $8 trillion, down $700 billion from 2019," the US magazine said.
Regionally, Asia-Pacific has the most billionaires, with 778, followed by the United States with 614 and Europe with 511. Two Asian billionaires feature in the Top 20 of the list – Jack Ma (No. 17, $38.8 billion) and Ma Huateng (No. 20, $38.1 billion).
Jeff Bezos retained his status as the world’s wealthiest person for the third year in a row, despite giving $36 billion worth of his Amazon stock to his ex-wife MacKenzie Bezos as part of their divorce settlement last summer. He’s worth $113 billion, buoyed by a 15 percent rise in Amazon’s shares since the 2019 list. The e-commerce giant he runs has been in the spotlight amid the pandemic; it’s hiring 100,000 full- and part-time workers to help meet increased demand from consumers staying home and shopping online.
Bill Gates kept his spot as the second richest, followed by luxury goods tycoon Bernard Arnault, who nudged out Warren Buffett to move into the number three spot for the first time. Alice Walton, an heir to the Walmart fortune, was the richest woman, at No.9 with $54.4 billion. Altogether 241 women made the list, including 7 who share a fortune with a spouse, sibling or child.
The biggest gainer in dollar terms is Qin Yinglin, the world’s richest pig breeder. He’s ranked No. 43 and is worth $18.5 billion--a $14.2 billion jump since the 2019 list, after shares of his Shenzhen-listed Muyuan Foods nearly tripled as the African swine flu reduced the supply of pigs and drove up prices.
Altogether, 267 people who made last year’s list have dropped off as businesses faltered; among the most notable drop-offs is Adam Neumann of WeWork. Another 21 people died. Still, Forbes found 178 newcomers hailing from 20 countries, including some, like Zoom Video Communications’ founder and CEO Eric Yuan, whose service is booming amid our current shelter-in-place reality.
The US remains the country with the most billionaires, with 614, followed by greater China (including Hong Kong and Macao), with 456.
Forbes said that amid the Covid-19 outbreak, some of the world’s wealthiest were serving as agents of change and taking action to reinvent their businesses to aid in the global response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Billionaires like tech tycoon Bill Gates; Eric Yuan, CEO of Zoom; Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH, Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb; Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and a host of others are using their financial resources to help combat the health crisis and boost the economy, it said.