Indian business tycoon Mukesh Ambani has lost its crown of Asia’s richest man, relinquishing the title to Jack Ma after oil prices collapsed along with global stocks.
The rout exacerbated by mounting fears that the spread of the novel coronavirus will thrust the world into a recession, erased $5.8 billion from Ambani’s net worth on Monday and dropped him to No. 2 on the list of Asia’s richest people, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Ma, the founder of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. who relinquished the No. 1 ranking in mid-2018, is back on top with a $44.5 billion fortune, about $2.6 billion more than Ambani.
Oil plunge the most in 29 years as Saudi Arabia and Russia vowed to pump more in a struggle for market share just as the coronavirus is spurring the first decline in demand in more than a decade.
While the coronavirus has curtailed some of Alibaba’s businesses, the damage has been mitigated by increased demand for its cloud computing services and mobile apps.
Reliance Industries, by comparison, has no such silver lining. The Indian company’s shares plunged 12% on Monday, the most since 2009, extending this year’s decline to 26%. Alibaba’s American depositary receipts have slipped 6.8% so far in 2020.
Reliance Industries expected the Aramco transaction to be completed by March, but people familiar with the matter said in February that talks were still ongoing to bridge differences between the two parties over the deal’s structure.