Reflecting his country's emerging economic status, Indian-born steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal has knocked Li Ka-shing from the top spot as Asia Pacific's richest man in Forbes magazine's annual ranking of the world's wealthiest. Mr Mittal, who heads the world's largest steel company - Mittal Steel - has US$25 billion, according to Forbes, or 92 per cent more than Mr Li's US$13 billion. Robust steel prices and the company's merger and acquisition activity last year vaulted the London-based steel tycoon 59 places up the billionaire ladder, making him the third-richest man on the planet, the US business magazine said. His wealth shot up US$18.8 billion in the past 12 months. Mr Li, who controls Cheung Kong (Holdings) and Hutchison Whampoa, remains the wealthiest person in Hong Kong and is No22 on the world list. Mr Li was followed by the Kwok brothers - Walter, Thomas and Raymond - the controlling shareholders of the SAR's largest developer Sun Hung Kai Properties, and Henderson Land Development chairman Lee Shau-kee. India, which the magazine described as a rising star, saw the aggregate net worth of its billionaires rise US$47 billion since 2002, and the number of billionaires has more than doubled from five to 12. China ranks No7 and India ranks No12 in the world by way of gross domestic product. Asia's fifth-richest man, Azim Premji, who heads the technology giant Wipro, also comes from India. There are 17 billionaires from China and Hong Kong, among the 90 billionaires in Asia Pacific. Japan dominated with 24 billionaires in the list. Other Hong Kong names on the billionaires list include Nina Wang Kung Yu-sum, the only female billionaire in Asia, and Shui On Group chairman Vincent Lo Hong-shui. Mr Lo, who has a strong presence in China and owns 20 per cent of Trump's Riverside South on New York's West Side, was new on the list with a US$1.3 billion fortune. 'The rich can thank improved global economic factors ... [and] bullish world stock markets, a weak dollar and surging commodity and real estate prices have all played a part,' the magazine said.