Billionaires across the world have seen a drop in their personal fortunes with their aggregate net worth down $570bn from last year.
According to the annual Forbes ranking of the world’s richest, the number of billionaires was also down to 1,810 from a record 1,826 a year ago. Their aggregate net worth stood at $6.48 trillion.
It was also the first time since 2010 that the average net worth of a billionaire dropped, Forbes 2016 World’s Billionaires list found. It currently stands at $3.6bn, $300m less than last year.
The list saw a lot of reshuffling with only two people in the top 20 holding the same rank as 2015. One of them is Bill Gates, who remains the world’s wealthiest individual with a fortune of $75bn.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg had the best year among the billionaires, with the 31-year-old adding $11.2bn to his fortune and moving to six from 16.
Geographically, the United States has the most number of billionaires at 540, followed by mainland China with 251, Germany with 120, Russia with 77 and Brazil with 23.
A fact of note is that UAE’s Hussain Sajwani, the chairman of DAMAC properties, ranks 6th the richest Arbs list with a net worth estimated at around $3.5 billion.
The Dubai-based real estate tycoon is famous for projects grandiose even by Dubai’s extravagant standards. Business fortunes have been apparently very good for the 63-year-old Sajwani. Damac Properties pulled in revenues of $2.3 billion in 2015, with net margins of more than 50%. The company has developed some 15,500 apartments since it was launched in 2002 and has another 40,000 units it plans to build and sell, in the United Arab Emirates and as far away as London. Its stellar results have landed Damac’s founder and chairman on Forbe’s list of the World’s Billionaires for the first time this year. His 72% stake in the company, which listed its shares on the Dubai Financial Market in January 2015, along with other investments, gives him a net worth of $3.2 billion.
Mr. Sajwani spotted plenty of opportunity back in 2001 when the Dubai government decided to allow foreigners to own property. He immediately focused on selling luxury real estate and mastered the company’s marketing strategy. Luxury cars, plane tickets, hotel stays and a visa, a free holiday to Dubai even – all have been offered to prospective buyers.
Luxury brands, including Versace, Fendi and Bugatti, have entered cobranding deals with Damac, raising the appeal for its brand-obsessed clientele.