It’s tough enough to earn a million. Earning a million millions might as well be a million times tougher. However, it can be done. Many people are proof because there are many people who have become billionaires.
So what countries in the world have the most billionaires in comparison to the number of the population? According to a Forbes report here is the list.
10. Switzerland – 13 billionaires/7.9 million people
The land of the Von Trapps is more than just alps, skiing and hot chocolate. Contrary to popular belief that tourism is the driving industry behind its economy, it is actually more manufacturing than anything else. The Swiss produce half of the world’s watches, but they are also home to some of the larges multinational corporations in the world including mining firm Glencore Xstrata, food giant Nestlé and pharmaceutical giants Novartis and Roche. On top of the Swiss billionaire list right now is biotech and investments giant Ernesto Bertarelli and family with a net worth of $10.6 billion. They own Serono biotech which specializes in biopharmaceuticals.
9. Kuwait – 5/2.8 million people
Currently the fifth richest country in the world, Kuwait has made its fortune in petroleum and petroleum products, fertilizers and financing. Japan is their current biggest trading partner when it comes to petroleum followed by India, Singapore and South Korea. Kuwait realizes it cannot depend on its oil reserves forever; it is now making moves to transform the country into a trade and tourism center. Among its ambitious projects is the Madinat al-Hareer (City of Silk) envisioned as the world’s largest real estate project. Among the most famous billionaires are the Alghanim brothers Bassam and Kutayba, who, despite being family are constantly bickering over the inheritance from their father. Bassam recently sued Kutayba for allegedly hacking into his email account.
8. Singapore – 10/5.2 million people
Despite strict government regulations concerning everything from public behaviors to dress codes, Singapore enjoys one of the most vibrant economies in the world. What drives the Singapore economy? Trade. Since its establishment, Singapore has been one of the busiest transshipment points in the world. Singapore also enjoys healthy tourism and hotels are good business. On top of the list of Singapore billionaires are the Ng brothers Robert and Philip who have a net worth of $10.1 billion. It was their father Ng Teng Fong who built over 70 hotels, malls and condominiums in Singapore and Hong Kong. Another prominent family in Singapore is the Khoo family which owns the Godwood Group of Hotels. Their net worth is estimated at $6.7 billion.
7. Israel – 17/7.8 million
Considered by World Bank as the top third among the places easiest to do business, Israel enjoys a globally competitive economy despite being surrounded by not-so-friendly neighboring countries. Its economy is financed largely by research and development and skilled manpower. Among its most prominent billionaires are brothers Idan and Eyal Ofer, owners of the Ofer Holdings Groups, Israel Chemicals Ltd. and other companies. Idan’s net worth is estimated at $6.5 billion while Eyal’s is $6 billion. Another figure is the current richest Israeli woman in the world, Shari Arison, the controlling shareholder in Bank Hapoalim and other companies. Her net worth is estimated at $5.1 billion.
6. Cyprus – 3/1.1 million
Once known as a tax haven for importers, Cyprus suffered during the European financial crisis and had to secure $13 billion loan from the EU. It is still paying the price for that loan today. However, things are looking up for Cyprus right now with the discovery of offshore natural gas deposits. Earlier threats by Turkey to mobilize its forces if Cyprus drilled in a disputed area did not materialize after drilling was backed by the EU, UN and the US. Currently on top of the Cypriot billionaire list is oil tanker king John Fredriksen whose net worth is estimated at $13.5 billion. He is followed by Suat Gunsel ($1.1 billion) who owns banks, hospitals, universities, gas stations and even cable companies in his native Cyprus and Stelios Haji-Ioannou ($1.05 billion) who owns the EasyJet discount airline.
5. Belize – 1/356,600
Sandwiched between Mexico to the north and Guatemala to the south and west, Belize enjoys one of the smallest population densities in the world, one of the highest wildlife diversity rates in the world and a lot of sun, sand and sea. Belize is also blessed with good soil and oil reserves and sugar and petroleum are currently their biggest exports. They also enjoy good tourism all year round with tourists from the U.S. and South America posting the most arrivals. So who is Belize’s only billionaire? If you’re thinking John McAfee (pioneer of the antivirus software) then you are mistaken, he only stayed there a while then ran away. Belize’s only billionaire is Huang Maoru whose family owns Maoye International, a chain or retail stores in China. His net worth is estimated at $1 billion.
4. Hong Kong – 39/7.1 million
This island may be small, yet it houses the headquarters of many multinational corporations and their branches in Asia. The dearth of space only makes for the skyrocketing prices of premium real estate. Everyone competes for everything there, so for anyone setting up a business in Hong Kong, it’s either hit or miss. If you can make it big though, you can make it really big. The island has no shortage of contacts and business opportunities, you only have to find them. So who has made it to the top? Li Ka-Shing is number one on the list right now. This self-made man still runs his holdings empire at the age of 85. He just recently bought British gas supplier Wales and West Utilities and now supplies gas to a quarter of the UK. His estimated net worth is $31 billion.
3. Guernsey – 1/65,345
Guernsey is one of the channel isles located between the UK and France. Technically it is not a member of the EU but a possession of the UK. Which means the UK will be responsible for its defense but is not counted as part of it. Financing makes up most of this state’s economy, although there is also tourism, manufacturing and horticulture. Guernsey’s only billionaire is Dame Mary Perkins who owns the largest privately-owned optical company in the world.
2. St. Kitts and Nevis – 1/53,051
Located in the West Indies, St. Kitts and Nevis is a two-island federation and also the smallest sovereign state in the Americas where population and area are concerned, it’s only 104 square miles. Formerly dependent on agriculture alone, it has gone on to diversify its industries and now has tourism, agriculture and light industry to fall back on. So who is St. Kitts’ only billionaire? Jacky Xu, head of the Trendy International Group, a huge apparel name in China. His net worth is estimated at $1.6 billion
1. Monaco – 3/35,427
This small sovereign city state on the French Riviera is the playground of the rich. First ruled by the old Italian family the Grimaldis, it changed hands often between the Spanish, the Italians and the French during their wars because of its strategic location. It would also be occupied buy the forces of fascist Italy and Nazi Germany during World War II. Monaco was thrust into the spotlight in 1956 when Prince Rainier married Hollywood actress Grace Kelly in a widely televised wedding. The state’s main earner is in tourism and banking. It levies no income taxes on its citizens or visitors, making it an ideal destination for those with much money. So who is on top of their exclusive billionaire’s list? Michele Ferrero, head of the Italian chocolate dynasty known as the Ferrero Group. It has more than 70 affiliated companies and employs almost 22,000 people all over the world. His estimated net worth? $20.4 billion.
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