The economic challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, armed conflict, and sluggish market have impacted everyone, even the world’s wealthiest people. According to Forbes’ annual ranking of the planet’s richest, this year’s list comprises only 2,668 billionaires — 87 fewer than a year ago.
But for Vietnam, a new billionaire breaks into the list for the first time, a welcome addition to the six other billionaires who also made the cut last year.
Bui Thanh Nhon, the chairman of the Nova Group, takes the 1053rd place with a net worth of $2.9 billion. The 64-year-old self-made billionaire started as a government employee before venturing out on his own in 1992 by selling animal feed and medicine.
In 2007, Nhon entered the real estate market with a condo project in Ho Chi Minh City. Nova Land Investment Group, the flagship of the company, has expanded aggressively over the years and was reported to have built as many as 25% of all sold residential projects in HCMC in 2019. The group’s other interests include consumer goods, entertainment, and food and beverage.
Still leading the list of Vietnamese billionaires is Pham Nhat Vuong, the chairman of Vietnam’s largest conglomerate Vingroup. This is the tenth time the 53-year-old billionaire has made the cut on the Forbes list. Vuong’s net worth, however, has decreased from $7.3 billion in 2021 to $6.2 billion this year, pushing his ranking 67 places down. Vuong heads several businesses, including real estate, healthcare, electronics, and car manufacturing. Automaker Vinfast, one of the group’s main units, recently announced its $2 billion investment in North Carolina, which was lauded by US President Joe Biden.
Rising 127 places higher, Vietnam’s first self-made woman billionaire Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao takes the 984th spot, with a net worth of $3.1 billion. The VietJet founder has continuously made headlines since launching her airline in 2011. In October last year, she made a historic £155 million donation to Oxford’s Linacre College, prompting the college to rename the institution after her name. Amidst controversies, the 51-year-old billionaire is considered an icon of women empowerment in Vietnam, being the only female billionaire in the country. Madame Thao is also an investor in HD Bank and real estate, including three beach resorts.
At number 951 is Tran Dinh Long, the man behind Hoa Phat Corp, an equipment and parts distributor. With a net worth of $3.2 billion, Long owns Vietnam’s biggest steel maker. His new $3 billion steel factory in Dung Quat has an annual capacity of five million tons, and he’s planning to expand further to meet the country’s growing demand for steel. Hoa Phat, which is investing in real estate and agriculture, reported record revenue and net profit in 2021, pushing Long’s net worth to a billion more compared to 2021.
In 1818th place is Tran Ba Duong, with a $1.6 billion net worth. Duong start working at an auto repair factory in the 1980s, and eventually worked his way up to management. Duong’s entrepreneurial mindset nudged him to open his own company, Truong Hai, in 1997; it initially sold cars and later started assembling cars for foreign brands like Mazda and Peugeot. More than a decade later, a car distributor in Singapore bought a stake in it, allowing the company to grow bigger. Thaco, as the company’s called now, is the biggest car company in Vietnam, with more than a third of the nation’s automobile market.
Taking the 1579th place is Nguyen Dang Quang, founder of Masan Group and investor of Techombank, with a net worth of $1.9 billion. Quang’s Masan Group — which is involved in a wide range of consumer and food product businesses — saw a revenue increase of 15% to $4 billion in 2021, amidst a months-long lockdown in Vietnam. This has driven Quang’s wealth up to nearly $2 billion this year, from only $1.2 billion in 2021.
Ho Hung Anh, the long-time business partner of Quang and the chairman of Techombank, is at 1341. The 51-year-old billionaire started out trading goods between Eastern Europe and Vietnam in the 1990s before investing in Techombank in 1995. Quang and Anh took control of the commercial bank in 2006. Anh’s wealth has also seen tremendous growth over the last two years, from $1 billion in 2020 to $2.3 billion this year.
Forbes used stock prices and exchange rates from March 11, 2022, to calculate net worths to rank the world’s billionaires. All 2,668 people on the list are worth a collective $12.7 trillion, $400 billion less than in 2021.
America still leads the world, with 735 billionaires worth a collective $4.7 trillion, including Elon Musk, who tops the list for the first time. China (including Macau and Hong Kong) remains number two, with 607 billionaires worth a collective $2.3 trillion.