In the March 21, 2016 issue of its magazine, FORBES said there are billionaires from 67 countries and territories this year, compared to 70 in 2015. Pix from FORBES website

SINGAPORE: The Asia-Pacific region boasted the most billionaires for 2016 with 590 of them, according to the latest Forbes’ 30th annual ranking of the world’s billionaires.

The region was followed by the United States with 540, while Europe had 489.

In the March 21, 2016 issue of its magazine, Forbes said there are billionaires from 67 countries and territories this year, compared to 70 in 2015.

It said this year, there are no billionaires from Guatemala, Kuwait, Lithuania, St Kitts and Nevis and Uganda.

“Wealth is stretching to new corners of the world, with one country, Qatar, now represented on the list,” it added.

By country, the US led with the greatest number of billionaires at 540, followed by China (251), Germany (120), India (84) and Russia (77).

California alone had 131 billionaires, including nine newcomers.

Individually, Forbes said Bill Gates was once again on top, as the world’s richest person.

The technology guru has topped the list for 17 of the last 22 years, with a current net worth of US$75 billion, down from US$79.2 billion in 2015.

Spanish clothing retailer Amancio Ortega - best known for the Zara fashion chain - is at no 2, up two spots, and having increased his net worth by US$2.5 billion for a total of US$67 billion.

Warren Buffett, Chief Executive Officer and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway remained in the third spot, despite having his net worth drop US$11.9 billion to US$60.8 billion.

Put together, the total net worth for this year’s billionaires was US$6.48 trillion, down from US$7.05 trillion last year.

Roughly, Forbes said that two-thirds of the list or 1,186 members were self-made billionaires, 228 inherited their wealth, another 396 inherited at least a portion, but are still growing it.

Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder of the social networking website Facebook, is at no 6, moving into the top 10 for the first time.

He is the biggest gainer on the 2016 list, with his fortune up US$11.2 billion for a total net worth of US$44.6 billion.

According to Forbes this year, 198 billionaires were new to the list, down from the high of 290 newcomers in 2015.

China had the most newcomers, adding 70 to the list, with 33 from the US and eight from India, with Germany contributing 28.

Notable newcomers included the world’s youngest billionaires, Alexandra Andresen, 19, and her sister Katharina Andresen, 20, from Norway.

Forbes noted that 66 billionaires are under 40 this year.

The industry with the most newcomers is manufacturing at 39, followed by real estate and technology with 21 apiece.

Altogether, 221 people dropped out of the rankings, while 29 passed away.

The Forbes Billionaires list is a snapshot of wealth taken on Feb 12, 2016, when stock prices and exchange rates were locked in from around the world.

For the full list, videos and more, visit www.forbes.com/billionaires. -- Bernama