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Reuters/Danish Siddiqui, EPA/Hafiz Sohaimi and Jagadeesh NV
Young and loaded.
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India’s super-rich have never been this young

By Suneera Tandon

Start-ups and new businesses are churning out rich young Indians like never before.

Half of India’s high net worth individuals (HNIs) are under 40 years of age, according to a survey (pdf) by Kotak Wealth Management.

The private banking firm’s survey, published on July 26, tracked individuals with total assets over Rs25 crore ($3.75 million) and covered 225 HNIs in 12 cities between January and March 2016.

This is the first time in six years since Kotak began surveying India’s super-rich that such a large number of HNIs-under-40 has been reported. The shift is a result of the boom in the internet economy over the last three years, the survey implies.

For instance, the report names Flipkart’s Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal—who joined the Forbes billionaire list last year with a net worth of $1.24 billion each—and Vijay Shekhar Sharma (37), founder of One97 Communication, the parent company of mobile-commerce platform Paytm. Sharma’s personal wealth is estimated at Rs2,824 crore ($424 million).

Last year, Beijing-based Hurun Research Institute named Ankit Bhati (28) and Bhavish Aggarwal (29) as the youngest self-made individuals on the list of India’s rich. The two promoters of ANI Technologies, which owns taxi-hailing service Ola, had personal wealth of Rs2,385 crore each.

For entrepreneurs, the primary source of wealth is, expectedly, their business, as compared to inheritors who have sizeable earnings from real estate investments, the Kotak survey says.

Apart from startup founders and CEO’s an increasing number of celebrities and sportsmen, too, are raking in money, said Murali Balaraman, partner, advisory services, Ernst & Young, which carried out the survey for Kotak.

For instance, 35-year-old cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni ranked 23rd on the Forbes list of highest-paid athletes in 2015, with estimated earnings of $31 million. Deepika Padukone (30) featured among the top 10 on the Forbes list of India’s richest celebrities. It also included 27-year-old cricketer Virat Kohli.

Overall, though, the growth in the number of Indian HNIs remained modest at 7% to 146,600; their accumulated net worth stood at Rs135 lakh crore ($2 trillion).

With India’s startup ecosystem booming, Balaraman expects younger HNIs to keep adding to their wealth. “The most important story of wealth creation will actually be the younger ones entering the list,” said Balaraman. “That will be a big game-changer for the economy.”