Vietnam's richest tycoon named in Forbes billionaires list for 3rd time

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Vietnam's only billionaire Pham Nhat Vuong. Photo credit: Forbes Vietnam's only billionaire Pham Nhat Vuong. Photo credit: Forbes

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Vietnamese property tycoon Pham Nhat Vuong has been listed for the third time in Forbes magazine's annual ranking of global billionaires. 
Forbes released its annual accounting of the world’s richest people, all 1,826 billionaires with more than US$7 trillion among them, on Monday. 
Vietnam's only entry, Pham Nhat Vuong, founder and chairman of Vingroup, was ranked 1,118th with a net worth of US$1.7 billion, dropping 26 notches from last year. 
To put that figure in perspective, Vietnam's total gross domestic product was estimated at around $187.8 billion last year, according to the International Monetary Fund. 
Forbes said 46-year-old Vuong spent the past year expanding his conglomerate's real estate business.
He launched dozens of new projects of which the most notable is the $1.5 billion Vinhomes Central Park, which will feature an 81-story skyscraper, expected to be the tallest building in Vietnam, dozens of apartment buildings and a park modeled after New York City's Central Park. 
Retail expansion
Vuong is also building a theme park complex in Phu Quoc Island. Vingroup's expansion into retail is underway with 25 Vincom shopping centers due to open this year. 
In the next three years he wants to open 100 supermarkets (VinMart) and 1,000 convenient stores, according to Forbes. 
Vuong studied in Moscow then moved to Ukraine where he started Technocom, an instant noodle producer. 
He returned to Vietnam in 2001 to plunge into real estate, eventually selling his foods company in 2009 to Nestle. Vingroup's other assets include hotels, education and healthcare. 
This year, Bill Gates has been declared the richest man in the world for the 16th time by Forbes magazine, with a net worth of $79.2 billion, followed by Mexican businessman Carlos Slim with $77.1 billion and legendary US investor Warren Buffett with $72.7 billion.

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