BUSINESS - WEALTH - MONEY -WORK
By Daniel Kaplan | YEET MAGAZINE | Posted on September 17, 2021 at 7:32 am
Richest People in the World
Life is good for SpaceX owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk.Britta Pedersen/Pool via AP
Fortunes can be made and lost in a day in our global economy. The Bloomberg Billionaires Index ranks the world's 500 richest individuals. While many of the names in the top 10 are as iconic as the tech companies that propelled them to wealth and fame, there is always room for a few surprises.
In addition to their business acumen and accomplishments, many of the people on the list are also active philanthropists. And if the thought of all that wealth feels intimidating and out of reach, consider that many billionaires are self-made and come from humble and unremarkable beginnings.
These are the richest people in the world.
Honorable Mention: Laurene Powell Jobs — $21.2 Billion
Laurene Powell Jobs in 2016.Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo
Note: Rankings are based on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, and data is updated through Jan. 7, 2021.
Born: Nov. 6, 1963 (age 57) in West Milford, New Jersey
Spouse: Steve Jobs (m. 1991 until his death in 2011)
Industry: Media and telecom
Famous quote: "To do what you wanna do, to leave a mark — in a way that you think is important and lasting — that's a life well-lived."
Bottom Line: Laurene Powell Jobs
Laurene Powell Jobs graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in political science and economics, then got an MBA from Stanford.DealStreetAsia/Facebook
Laurene Powell Jobs is the widow and heir of Steve Jobs. She and Steve met at Stanford Business School in 1989 and were together for over 20 years.
Laurene started her career as a fixed-trading strategist for Goldman Sachs and later cofounded Terravera, a raw and organic food supply company in the 1990s. She founded the Emerson Collective, a social change organization that engages in impact investing and philanthropy.
In 2017, the Emerson Collective purchased a majority stake in The Atlantic.
Honorable Mention: Hui Ka Yan — $22.9 billion
Hui Ka Yan is the chairman and founder of the Evergrande Group.China Daily
Born: Oct. 9, 1958 (age 62) in Henan, China
Spouse: Yang Huiying (m. 1983)
Industry: Real estate
Famous quote: "Don't marry too early in life. It's better to work hard when young and establish a career first."
Bottom Line: Hui Ka Yan
Hui Ka Yan has made a fortune developing real estate.ourownstartup/Twitter
Hui Ka Yan is a self-made real estate mogul who runs Evergrande Group, one of China's largest real estate companies.
But Everande isn't just a real estate company. Evergrande has investments in other seemingly off-brand ventures like pig farming, solar panel production and electric vehicles (it's looking to become the Tesla of China). It also has partnered with McDonald's, allowing the American-based chain to expand into rural Chinese areas.
Evergrande is worth about $23.5 billion.
Honorable Mention: Abby Johnson — $24.3 Billion
Abigail Johnson in 2012.Singhaniket255/Wikipedia
Born: Dec. 19, 1961 (age 59) Boston, Massachusetts
Spouse: Christopher McKown (m. 1988)
Famous quote: "Every day you have to get up with new energy and new ideas to contribute to pushing the organization forward."
Bottom Line: Abigail Johnson
Abigail Johnson started working at Fidelity in 1988.Bloomberg Markets and Finance/YouTube
Abigail Johnson is the daughter of billionaire businessman Edward Johnson III, whose father founded Fidelity in 1946. The Johnson family has been running Fidelity — currently the second-largest mutual fund manager in America — for nearly 75 years.
While her father is a billionaire, he's worth only $7.4 billion, or about a fourth of Abby. She's been the CEO and president of Fidelity since 2014.
In 2019, she was worth an estimated $14 billion. Now she's worth nearly double that, according to Bloomberg.
Honorable Mention: Goh Cheng Liang — 25.6 Billion
Paint tycoon Goh Cheng Liang is a reclusive billionaire and the richest man in Singapore.STcom/Twitter
Born: 1928 (age 92) in Singapore
Famous quote: "My personal philosophy is I never want to go public. First, I'm not a professional manager. Second, these professional managers who come and join me, I don't know how to handle them, I don't know how to drive them."
Bottom Line: Goh Cheng Liang
Nippon Paint headquarters in Osaka, Japan.tokumeigakarinoaoshima/Wikipedia
Goh Cheng Liang is a reclusive billionaire who founded the Nippon Paint South-East Asia Group, one of the largest paint manufacturers in Asia. It's hard to even find a photo of Goh, but we do know a few things, thanks to the Straits Times.
Goh was born into poverty in 1928, living in a $3-a-month rented room with his six other family members. He sold fishing nets during World War II, and then, in 1949, he bought barrels of bad paint leftover from the British army. When the Korean War started that following year, import restrictions worked in his favor, and his paint business gained momentum.
He is said to have several yachts and catamarans. In a rare interview with the Business Times from 1997, as quoted in the Straits Times, he said this amusing bit: "I don't like cinemas, I don't like movies, I don't like songs, I don't like karaoke, I don't like bars. When I was young, I was quite naughty about girls but not so in the last 20 years."
Honorable Mention Jim Ratcliffe — $26.6 Billion
Jim Ratcliffe is one of Britain's richest people.Matt Dunham/AP Photo
Born: Oct. 18, 1952 (age 68) in Failsworth, Lancashire, England
Spouse: Amanda Townson (m. 1985, divorced 1995), Maria Alessia Maresca (current partner)
Famous quote: "If it's hemorrhaging cash, you've got to do something about it. You can't live with your head in the sand."
Bottom Line: Jim Ratcliffe
Jim Ratcliffe, right, is the chairman of Ineos.Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP Photo
Jim Ratcliffe is a self-made British industrialist and the founder of Ineos Group, a London-based chemicals and gas company made up of 20 independent businesses.
Ratcliffe is media-shy, but not reclusive. He's given a few interviews about his life, saying that he learned how to count by counting the chimneys from his bedroom window in Failsworth. As a kid, he used to pick up frogs with his neighborhood friends.
Now, he picks up superyachts. Ratcliffe owns two superyachts: the Hampshire II, which is worth about $150 million, and the Sherpa, a 243-foot expedition ship worth over $120 million.
Honorable Mention: Leonard Lauder — $27.2 billion
Leonard Lauder helped build the Estee Lauder Company into an international empire.Stephen Chernin/AP Photo
Born: March 19, 1933 (age 87) in New York, New York
Spouse: Evelyn Hausner (married 1959 until her death in 2011), Judy Ellis-Glickman (2015-present)
Famous quote: "To be a great leader, you firstly have to like people. If you don’t like people, at the end of the day, they will figure this out, and you can’t lead them too well."
Note: The rankings can change frequently with stock price moves.
Bottom Line: Leonard Lauder
Leonard Lauder and wife, Judy Glickman, at a gala in New York in 2015.Evan Agostini/Invision/AP Photo
Leonard Lauder is the oldest son of Estee Lauder, the incredibly successful businesswoman who launched the eponymous makeup company.
Leonard ran Estee Lauder for over 30 years, establishing the company's first research and development lab and purchased several other brands like Aveda and Bobbi Brown. He stepped down as CEO in 1999 but is still involved around the company as the "chief teaching officer."
His first wife, Evelyn, died in 2011. She created the pink ribbon used for breast cancer awareness. He married his second wife, Judy Glickman, in 2015. It's a bittersweet story.
Honorable Mention: Dieter Schwarz — $27.8 Billion
Dieter Schwarz is a German entrepreneur and owner of the Schwarz-Gruppe.Lidl
Born: Sept. 24, 1939 (age 81) in Heilbronn, Germany
Spouse: Franziska Weipert (m. 1963)
Famous quote: "These freedoms that I currently enjoy will no longer exist to this degree. I am beyond my sell-by date as concerns the extent of my powers and areas of competence."
Bottom Line: Dieter Schwarz
A Lidl store in Bremen, Germany.Joerg Sarbach/AP Photo
Dieter Schwarz is the founder of the Schwarz Group, which owns the Lidl and Kaufland grocery stores. As a group, it's the biggest retailer in Europe.
As for Schwarz, he is a notoriously private individual.
"He is a mystery, lives out of sight, avoids all publicity. Extremely little is known about him, and very few people in his close circle dare talk to the press," are the opening lines to the German documentary "Die Lidl-Story," which attempts to find out who Schwarz is and where he comes from.
50. Masayoshi Son — $28.1 Billion
Born: Aug. 11, 1957 (age 63) in Tosu, Saga, Japan
Spouse: Masami Ohno (m. 1979)
Famous quote: "Entrepreneurship, you will only understand it if you experience it for yourself. It’s not something I can explain in words."
Bottom Line: Masayoshi Son
49. Qin Yinglin — $28.4 Billion
Qin Yinglin is the chairman of Muyuan Foodstuff.AdvanceHumanism/Twitter
Born: 1965 (age 55) in Nanyang, China
Spouse: Qian Ying
Industry: Food and beverage
Famous quote: "[Adversity can] be an opportunity for strong businesses to benefit and develop."
Bottom Line: Qin Yinglin
Qin Yinglin is a self-made billionaire.thanatopobia/Twitter
Qin Yinglin is proof that hard work can pay off.
After studying animal husbandry in college, he started a pig breeding business with his wife in 1992. They had 22 pigs. By 2019, they had over 10 million pigs with their Muyuan Foodstuff Co.
Because of a global pork shortage, Yinglin's fortune has skyrocketed, growing from $4.4 billion in May 2019 to close to $30 billion to open 2021.
48. Jay Y. Lee — $28.5 Billion
Jay Y. Lee was born in 1968.Ahn Young-joon/AP Photo
Nationality: South Korean
Born: June 23, 1968 (age 52) in Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Spouse: Im Se-ryung (m. 1998–2009)
Famous quote: "I do receive a summary of daily news, but my work is mostly electronics and I.T."
Bottom Line: Jay Y. Lee
Jay Y. Lee is the chairman of Samsung.Kim Hong-Ji/AP Photo
Jay Y. Lee, or Lee Jae-yong, is the chairman of Samsung Electronics. He succeeded his father, who died in 2020.
The younger Lee is a private person but was cast into the public spotlight for his alleged involvement in a 2016 corruption scandal that spurred massive street protests and sent South Korea's then-president to prison.
Lee was accused of bribery, embezzlement and perjury. In 2017, he was arrested and sentenced to five years in jail. He was released in 2018, and his sentence was suspended. He expressed remorse but never admitted wrongdoing.
47. Gina Rinehart — $29.9 Billion
Gina Rinehart is in the Australian Prospectors and Miners Hall of Fame.Hancock Prospecting
Born: Feb. 9, 1954 (age 66) in Perth, Australia
Spouse: Frank Rinehart (m. 1983–90), Greg Hayward (m. 1973–81)
Famous quote: "There is no monopoly on becoming a millionaire. If you're jealous of those with more money, don't just sit there and complain. Do something to make more money yourself."
Bottom Line: Gina Rinehart
Gina Rinehart is the executive chairman of Hancock Prospecting.Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade/Wikimedia
Gina Rinehart is a legend in mining.
After her father died in 1992, Rinehart took over his company, Hancock Prospecting, which was struggling at the time, and turned the private mineral and extraction business into a huge success.
For her efforts, she joined her dad in the Australian Prospectors and Miners Hall of Fame.
46. Yang Huiyan — $30.2 billion
Yang Huiyan is one of the richest women in Asia.TheXingtian/Twitter
Born: July 20, 1981 (age 39) Guandong, China
Spouse: Chen Chong (m. 2006)
Industry: Real estate
Famous quote: N/A
Bottom Line: Yang Huiyan
Yang Huiyan is the largest shareholder of Country Garden, a property development company in China.countrygardenHK/Instagram
Yang Huiyan is the daughter of Yang Guoqiang, a self-made Chinese real estate tycoon who founded the Country Garden Group. The County Garden Group is one of the biggest real estate developers in China.
In 2005, Guoiang transferred his shares in the company to Huiyan, making her one of the richest women in Asia and the sixth-richest person in China.
45. Vladimir Potanin — $31.0 billion
Russian billionaire Vladimir Potanin.Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP Photo
Born: Jan. 3, 1961 (age 59) in Moscow, Russia
Spouse: Natalia Potanina (m. 1983, div. 2014), Yekaterina Potanina (m. 2018)
Famous quote: "It is not good to demonstrate your luxury and your wealth: to rub it in the faces of others is insulting. So you should be modest. Try not to insult people by showing that you can do what they cannot."
Bottom Line: Vladimir Potanin
Vladimir Potanin, left, and Severstal CEO Alexei Mordashov at a meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in 2010.Dmitry Astakhov/AP Photo
Formerly a high-ranking official in Boris Yeltsin's government, Vladimir Potanin set up a private bank in 1993. Back then, when privatization was still a novel concept in Russia, anyone with enough money and connections could form a bank. That bank, Uneximbank, grew to $3.8 billion in assets by 1997 and was in debt by $2 billion in 1999.
Potanin also was instrumental in the loans-for-shares scheme that put wealthy and well-connected Russians in control of major industries for a fraction of their worth. In 1995, Potanin, via Uneximbank, bought Norilsk Nickel, one of the world's largest nickel producers, for $170.1 million, just $100,000 above the $170 million opening bid, despite a competing bid of $350 million. He is the founder of the Moscow-based Russian conglomerate Interros.
He divorced his wife in 2014 and somehow settled for around $40 million. She sought $5 billion, but her claim was thrown out in court.
44. Takemitsu Takizaki — $31.2 Billion
Takemitsu Takiszaki, Japanese billionaire and founder of Keyence, leads a seclusive life.thanatopobia/Twitter
Born: June 10, 1945 (age 75) in Ashiya, Hyogo, Japan
Spouse: Married (spouse's name unavailable)
Famous quote: N/A
Bottom Line: Takemitsu Takizaki
The Keyence headquarters in Osaka.W236/Wikipedia
Takemitsu Takizaki founded Keyence, a Japanese-headquartered, multinational direct sales corporation that develops automation products.
Takemitsu is extremely private and has given limited interviews to the Japanese media and none (at least none we could find) to the American media.
We do know that he likes collecting fossils and places them around Keyence headquarters, according to Bloomberg. The message: If you don't adapt to change, you'll go extinct.
43. Li Ka-Shing — $31.8 Billion
Li Ka-shing announces CK Hutchison Holdings' company results in 2016.Vincent Yu/AP Photo
Nationality: Chinese, Canadian, British
Born: June 13, 1928 (age 92) in Guangdong, China
Spouse: Chong Yuet Ming (m. 1963, until her death in 1990)
Industry: Real estate
Famous quote: "A good reputation for yourself and your company is an invaluable asset not reflected in the balance sheets."
Bottom Line: Li Ka-Shing
Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing formally retired as chairman of his conglomerate in 2018 just shy of his 90th birthday.Kin Cheung/AP Photo
When someone has the nickname "Superman," you know they're powerful. Li Ka-shing is one of the most prominent business persons in Asia and the most powerful businessman in Hong Kong.
His company, CK Hutchinson Holdings, owns numerous business holdings throughout the world, including major dealings in telecoms, infrastructure, and retail. Notably, CK Hutchinson Holdings owns the A.S. Watson Group, the largest international beauty retailer in the world.
Ka-shing owns the La Ka Shing Foundation, which is second only to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in charitable organizations founded by wealthy individuals. The La Ka Shing Foundation has poured billions of dollars into Hong Kong, which is what earned him the Superman moniker in that country.
He's also entirely self-made, beginning his career at the age of 16 with a job at a plastics factory. He retired from his position as chairman at CK Hutchinson in 2018.
42. Lei Jun — $32.0 Billion
Lei Jun is the chairman of Xiaomi.Ng Han Guan/AP Photo
Born: Dec. 16, 1969 (age 51) in Xiantao, China
Spouse: Zhang Tong
Famous quote: "The most important thing is to focus, focus, focus."
Bottom Line: Lei Jun
Lei Jun started his first company in college.Vincent Yu/AP Photo
Lei Jun always has been ahead of the game. He started his first company in college and graduated in two years with a computer science degree. He founded an online bookstore called Joyo.com in 2000 and sold it to Amazon four years later for $75 million.
In 2010, Jun cofounded Xiaomi, a technology company that manufactures smartphones and other consumer electronics. As chairman Xiaomi, he has helped the company become one of the world's most popular smartphone manufacturers.
41. Dan Gilbert — $32.0 Billion
Dan Gilbert owns the Cleveland Cavaliers, an NBA basketball team.Tony Dejak/AP Photo
Born: Jan. 17, 1962 (age 58) in Detroit, Michigan
Spouse: Jennifer Gilbert
Industry: Real estate
Famous quote: "You will always invest your time somewhere doing something. As long as you are alive, it’s not a choice whether you invest your time or not. The only choice is what you will do with it. Time, not money, is the most valuable commodity of all. Time can never be replaced. Never trade significant amounts of time for small sums of money. How will you invest the 31,536,000 seconds you are gifted each year? Choose wisely."
Bottom Line: Dan Gilbert
Dan Gilbert got rich through the mortgage lending business.Tony Dejak/AP Photo
Dan Gilbert is the co-founder of Quicken Loans and owner of the holding company Rock Ventures. He's also the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers (they're worth about $1.5 billion).
Gilbert took Quicken public for the second time in August 2020. He has a 95 percent equity stake in the mortgage firm.
Taking Quicken public shot him to the 29th richest person in the world.
40. William Ding — $28.0 Billion
William Ding is the founder of NetEase.Institute for Management Development/YouTube
Born: Oct. 1, 1971 (age 49) in Ningbo, China
Spouse: Wang Xunfang (m. 2006)
Famous quote: "Smart guys seize opportunities and never let them slip between their fingers. And those who think themselves weak always wait for opportunities."
Bottom Line: William Ding
William Ding is one of the richest men in China.ArcBlock_io/Twitter
William Ding is the founder of NetEase, one of the largest gaming and internet companies in the world, and made significant contributions to the development of computer networks in China.
NetEase produces its own games for the Chinese market, but they also partner with companies like Blizzard Entertainment to provide the Chinese audience with games like "Hearthstone" and "World of Warcraft" — and make sure those games comply with China's stringent rules.
Additionally, NetEase operates email servers and other social communication platforms. It also owns pig farms and is aiming to raise 670,000 hogs per year by 2024.
39. Pang Kang — $32.8 billion
Pang Kang is the soy sauce king of the world.#SecretsSelfmadeBillionaires by Paul Chan/YouTube
Born: 1956 (age 64) in Foshan, China
Industry: Food and beverage
Famous quote: "Always leading." (Brand slogan of Foshan Haitian Flavoring and Food Co.)
Bottom Line: Pang Kang
Foshan Haitian is China's best-selling soy sauce and has made Pang Kang a very rich man.Haitian-food.com
Pang Kang is the owner of Foshan Haitian Flavoring and Food, which is the largest soy sauce producer in China.
The company can pack up to 48,000 bottles per hour. Haitian went on the Shanghai Stock Exchange in 2014 and was the country's second-biggest initial public offering. In September 2020, the company's market value hit $81 billion.
There is not a lot of public information available about Pang Kang, who is highly secretive.
38. Giovanni Ferrero — $34.1 Billion
Giovanni Ferrero is the richest person in Italy.PR Newswire
Born: Sept. 21, 1964 (age 56) in Farigliano, Italy
Spouse: Paola Rossi
Industry: Food and beverage
Famous quote: "We do everything with seriousness and extreme competence."
Bottom Line: Giovanni Ferrero
Giovanni Ferrero was CEO of the Ferrero Group from 2011 to 2017.Ferrero.com
Giovanni Ferrero owns the Ferrero SpA, the second-largest confectionery and chocolate company in the world. The family-owned company makes Nutella (his father invented it in 1964), Tic Tacs and various other candy and chocolates that are very popular in Europe.
in 2018, Ferrero SpA bought the American candy arm of Nestle for $2.8 billion The company now produces chocolate bars like Butterfinger, Baby Ruth and Crunch Bar.
Ferrero is the richest person in Italy. He's very private, so we don't know much about his personal life.
37. Sheldon Adelson — $34.3 Billion
Sheldon Adelson is is CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation.Andrew Harnik/AP
Born: Aug. 4, 1933 (age 87) in Boston, Massachusetts
Spouse: Sandra Adelson (m. 1970s, div. 1988), Miriam Ochsorn (m. 1991)
Famous quote: "Achievement is the motivation of entrepreneurs."
Bottom Line: Sheldon Adelson
Sheldon has made a fortune in the entertainment industry.Wong May-E/AP Photo
Sheldon Adelson is the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation.
He's a controversial figure who is vehemently anti-union, anti-marijuana and anti-online gambling.
Despite lingering health issues, which includes peripheral neuropathy and non-Hodkin's lymphoma, Adelson remains the CEO of Las Vegas Sands.
36. Gautam Adani — $34.9 Billion
Gautam Adani has billions of reasons to smile.Aijaz Rahi/AP Photo
Born: June 24, 1962 (age 58) in Ahmedabad, India
Spouse: Priti Adani
Famous quote: "Business is all about risk-taking and managing uncertainties and turbulence."
Bottom Line: Gautam Adani
Gautam Adani is the chairman of Adani Group.Rajanish Kakade/AP Photo
Gautam Adani went from college dropout to business tycoon. Adani grew up as one of seven siblings, and his father was a textile merchant. But Adani wanted to follow a different path. As a teenager, he worked as a diamond sorter and then started his own diamond brokerage firm. He lasted a year at college studying commerce and found he preferred real-world training.
He helped his older brother with the operations of a plastics company and got introduced to global trading. Not long after, Adani started his business importing primary polymers and was on his way to building a billion-dollar empire with the Adani Group.
Now, he gives back through his Adani Foundation, which is run by his wife, Priti, and believes goodness is imperative for growth.
35. Zeng Yuqun — $36.2 Billion
Zeng Yuqun is one of the richest people in China.David_Stringer/Twitter
Born: Jan. 1, 1968 (age 53) in Ningde, China
Famous quote: "Can pigs lifted by a typhoon really fly?"
Bottom Line: Zeng Yuqun
Zeng Yuqun made a fortune in batteries.socean76/Twitter
Zeng Yuqun, also known as Robin Zeng in the West, is the boss of Contemporary Amperex Technologies (CATL). He started his career as an engineer after getting a Ph.D. from the Institute of Physics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
His company has more than 24,000 employees and produces batteries for Bosch and major carmakers like Tesla, Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo. In June 2020, Yuqun said his company was ready to start manufacturing batteries that would last for 16 years or [about 1 million miles]."
It's one reason why his net worth increased over $20 billion in 2020.
34. He Xiangjian — $38.0 Billion
He Xiangjian is the founder and CEO of Media Group.Media
Born: Oct. 5, 1942 (age 78) in Guangdong, China
Spouse: Married (spouse's name unavailable)
Famous quote: N/A
Bottom Line: He Xiangjian
The Midea Group headquarters in Foshan, China.Midea Group/Wikipedia
He Xiang is a self-made billionaire whose career began when he opened up a lid manufacturing business with $706 and 23 workers. A decade later, his company progressed to electric fans and then air conditioners.
In the 1990s and early 2000s, He's company, now named Midea, built refrigerators and microwave ovens. His company was worth 10 billion yuan ($1.4 billion) around this time, and Midea would go on to become the largest home appliance maker in China.
He stays out of the public spotlight — or at least the Western spotlight — and there's not too much known about his personal life (his spouse's name is not readily available online).
In June 2020, five men broke into He's house and attempted to hold him hostage for money, but He's 55-year-old son broke loose and swam across a nearby river to alert authorities.
33. Len Blavatnik — $38.1 billion
Len Blavatnik, left, and wife, Emily Appelson, at the Grammy Awards in 2018.Evan Agostini/AP Photo/Invision
Nationality: Ukranian, later British-American
Born: Jun 13, 1957 (age 63) in Odessa, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
Spouse: Emily Appelson (m. 1980s)
Famous quote: "So far I feel vindicated and proud of my investment decisions. The question is whether the luck will continue."
Bottom Line: Len Blavatnik
Len Blavatnik's conglomerate company is called Access Industries.Mark Neyman/Israel Government Press Office/Wikipedia
Len Blavatnik made his fortune from Russia's natural resource industry and used those billions to make himself a beloved billionaire.
"Blavatnik’s exceptionally large gifts to respected western institutions, from Tate to Harvard, have earned him admiration as one of the world’s most generous philanthropists," wrote the Financial Times. "At the same time, he has maintained an obsessional level of privacy around his personal life, avoiding the pitfalls of oligarchs such as Roman Abramovich or [Oleg] Deripaska."
In 2011, Blavatnik was worth $10.1 billion and No. 80 on the Forbes billionaires list, but he's made over $20 billion in the last decade through many savvy investments via his conglomerate Access Industries. And in 2017, Queen Elizabeth knighted him for his philanthropic work. So he's Sir Len Blavatnik now.
31. Gerard Wertheimer — $38.5 Billion (Tied)
Gerard Wertheimer studied at the University of Paris.NewsAward/Twitter
Born: April 17, 1951 (age 69) in Paris, France
Spouse: Valerie Wertheimer
Famous quote: "We're a very discreet family. We never talk."
Bottom Line: Gerard Wertheimer
Gerard Wertheimer, left, with his brother, Alain, right.VVVista/Twitter
Gerard Wertheimer and his brother, Alain, are co-owners of Chanel. They prefer to stay at home— or rather, homes located around the world — rather than be a part of the high life.
Here's a quote from a 2002 New York Times article about the brothers:
"What the Wertheimers do instead is live like Old World aristocrats — that is, in quiet luxury. Their friends are a small, tight-lipped circle of Rothschilds, Wildensteins, Gutfreunds and Bichs (of Bic-ballpoint-pen wealth). Their passions are shooting (years back, doves in Mexico; these days, game at their chateau in the Loire Valley), horse racing (their stables are among the greatest in the world), fine wines (two more chateaus, in Bordeaux), art collecting and skiing at their chalet in the Swiss Alps."
Their father, Pierre Wertheimer was an early business partner of Coco Chanel, who took over the Chanel company during World War II. Coco called him "the bandit who screwed me."
31. Alain Wertheimer — $38.5 Billion (Tied)
Alain Wertheimer is the chairman of Chanel.VyapaarJagatcom/AP Photo
Born: Sept. 28, 1948 (age 72), Paris, France
Spouse: Brigitte Wertheimer
Famous quote: "We're in the business of selling pleasure. We don't sell handbags or haute couture. We sell dreams."
Bottom Line: Alain Wertheimer
Alain Wertheimer lives in New York City.sanmonbunshi1/AP Photo
The Wertheimers are a notoriously private family so we don't know too much about them.
Alain and his brother Gerard are both based in New York City and, according to the New York Times, both own an impressive art collection (which they don't let anyone see), and together, they own three vineyards in France, one in Napa Valley (California), and also breed and race horses.
While Coco Chanel may not have liked Pierre much, she wasn't exactly a saint either. Chanel dated a Nazi military officer and also went by Abwher Agent F-7124. She doubled as a Nazi spy.
30. Michael Dell — $40.5 Billion
Michael Dell is the founder, chairman and CEO of Dell Technologies.Paul Sakuma/AP Photo
Born: Feb. 23, 1965 (age 55) in Houston, Texas
Spouse: Susan Lynn Lieberman (m. 1989)
Famous quote: "Ideas are a commodity. Execution of them is not."
Bottom Line: Michael Dell
Michael Dell in 2010.Kin Cheung/AP Photo
Michael Dell is the founder and CEO of Dell Technologies. He and other investors took Dell private in 2013 with a bid of $24.4 billion in 2013, then went public in early 2018. Dell opened with a $46 IPO.
By taking the declining Dell company of old public, Michael Dell turned the company around and now is one of the top 30 wealthiest people in the world.
Two years ago, he didn't even crack the top 50.
28. John Mars — $41.4 Billion (Tied)
John Mars is the grandson of Frank C. Mars, founders of the candy company Mars Inc.Dabshaleem/YouTube
Born: Oct. 15, 1935 (age 85) in Arlington, Virginia
Spouse: Adrienne Bevis (m. 1958)
Industry: Food and beverage
Bottom Line: John Mars
John Mars inherited one-third of the candy company Mars Inc. in 1999.Getty Images
John and his siblings Jacqueline and Forrest inherited one-third stakes in Mars Inc. when their father died in 1999 (Forrest Jr. died in 2016). The candy company was created by John's grandfather, Frank, in 1911.
While still known as a candy company, Mars also has investments in pet care and other food, like rice. Particularly Uncle Ben's rice, which the company announced it would be changing the name of in 2020.
28. Jacqueline Mars — $41.4 Billion (Tied)
Jacqueline Mars is an American heiress and investor.Short Documentary Channel/YouTube
Born: Oct. 10, 1939 (age 81) in the United Kingdom
Spouse: David H. Badger (m. 1961, div. 1984), Harold "Hank" Vogel (m. 1986, div. 1994)
Industry: Food and beverage
Bottom Line: Jacqueline Mars
Jacqueline Mars graduated from Bryn Mawr College with a degree in anthropology.Dabshaleem/YouTube
Jacqueline Mars is the heiress and granddaughter of the founder of the candy company Mars Inc.
Jacqueline worked in an executive position at the Mars company for nearly 20 years before retiring in 2001.
She now owns about one-third of Mars.
27. Tadashi Yanai — $42.7 Billion
Tadashi Yanai is the richest person in Japan.Eugene Hoshiko/AP Photo
Born: Feb. 7, 1949 (age 71) in Ube, Yamaguchi, Japan
Spouse: Teruyo Nagaoka
Famous quote: "You have to be a crazy guy and a little eccentric to be very successful. Whether it's Steve Jobs or Andy Grove, they're crazy."
Bottom Line: Tadashi Yanai
Tadashi Yanai at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2014.Vincent Yu/AP Photo
Tadashi Yanai is the owner of Fast Retailing, which owns the popular clothing company Uniqlo. Yani's father opened a clothing store, Ogori Sohji, in 1949. By 1984, there were 22 stores in Japan. That same year, Yani took over as as president and opened up a casual fashion store called Unique Clothing Warehouse, which later became Uiqlo.
There are now 813 Uniqlo stores in Japan, 50 in the United States and 745 in China. Worldwide, Uniqlo has grown to 2,234 outlets.
It's no wonder that he's the richest person in Japan.
26. Francois Pinault — $47.0 billion
Francois Pinault is the founder of the Kering and Artemis.S. Plaine/Wikimedia
Born: Aug. 21, 1936 (age 84) in Les Champs-Géraux, France
Spouse: Louise Gautier (m. 1962, div. 1967), Maryvonne Campbell (m. 1970)
Famous quote: "I have no sense of nostalgia. Tomorrow is what interests me."
Bottom Line: Francois Pinault
Francois Pinault, right, with Salma Hayek.matragrano/Twitter
Francois Pinault is the founder of the luxury group Kering and the investment company Artemis. He also is one of the world's leading contemporary art collectors.
Pinault got his start in the timber industry in the early 1960s and bought other companies along the way. In 1988, he shifted the focus of the business to retail and changed the name of the company to Pinault-Printemps-Redoute (PPR). In 2003, Pinault handed over management of his companies to his 40-year-old son Francois-Henri.
In June 2013, the son changed the group’s name from PPR to Kering. It owns various fashion brands, including Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, and Alexander McQueen. The younger Pinault married Salma Hayek in 2009.
25. Jack Ma — $50.1 Billion
Jack Ma is the co-founder and former executive chairman of Alibaba Group.Mark Schiefelbein/AP Photo
Born: Sept. 10, 1964 (age 56) in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
Spouse: Zhang Ying
Famous quote: "I don’t want to be liked. I want to be respected."
Bottom Line: Jack Ma
Jack Ma is one of the world's most powerful people.Mark Lennihan/AP Photo
Jack Ma is the cofounder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group and the richest man in China.
Unable to find a job, Ma stumbled into his career making websites for Chinese companies in the 1990s. In 1999, he created Alibaba with a group of 17 friends in his apartment.
Now, Alibaba is the largest e-commerce site in the world. Ma retired from Alibaba in 2018 to pursue educational work, philanthropy, and environmental causes.
24. Phil Knight — $54.2 Billion
Phil Knight, chairman of Nike, Inc.AP Photo
Born: Feb. 24, 1938 (age 82) in Portland, Oregon
Spouse: Penelope Knight (m. 1968)
Famous quote: “Play by the rules, but be ferocious.”
Bottom Line: Phil Knight
Phil Knight ran track at the University of Oregon.Elise Amendola/AP Photo
Phil Knight is the cofounder and chairman emeritus of Nike.
He worked as CEO of Nike from 1971 until 2004. That year, his 34-year-old son died in a scuba diving accident.
Knight resigned but remains on Nike's board.
23. MacKenzie Scott — $56.2 Billion
MacKenzie Scott, right, with his former husband, Jeff Bezos.Evan Agostini/AP Photo
Born: April 7, 1970 (age 50) in San Francisco, California
Spouse: Jeff Bezos (m. 1993, div. 2019)
Famous quote: "Like many, I watched the first half of 2020 with a mixture of heartbreak and horror. What fills me with hope is the thought of what will come if each of us reflects on what we can offer."
Bottom Line: MacKenzie Scott
MacKenzie Scott has given $1.7 million to nonprofits since her divorce.k_caldarella/Twitter
MacKenzie Scott is the former wife of Jeff Bezos. She walked away from that marriage with 25 percent of Jeff Bezo's Amazon shares, which were worth $35.6 billion at the time.
She's now a philanthropist and author. And since their divorce, Scott has given away $1.7 billion to 119 nonprofits.
22. Carlos Slim — $57.8 billion
Mexican business magnate Carlos Slim.Rebecca Blackwell/AP Photo
Born: Jan. 28, 1940 (age 80) in Mexico City, Mexico
Spouse: Soumaya Domit (m. 1967 until her death in 1999)
Famous quote: "The better off you are, the more responsibility you have for helping others. Just as it’s important to run companies well, with a close eye to the bottom line, you have to use your entrepreneurial experience to make corporate philanthropy effective."
Bottom Line: Carlos Slim
Carlos Slim is the richest person in Mexico.Marcelo Salinas/AP Photo
Carlos Slim has a diversified empire. Under his holding company Grupo Carso, Slim controls over 200 companies with a business portfolio that includes real estate, transportation, manufacturing, education, health care, media, energy and more.
Best known for his stake in Latin American telecom company America Movil, Slim also has holdings in a number of international companies across various sectors in Mexico, as well as recognizable American companies like The New York Times and Philip Morris.
Slim's business presence in Mexico is so vast that many Mexicans call the country "Slimlandia" because it's tough to go a day in Mexico without contributing to his wealth.
20. Julia Flesher Koch — $58.2 Billion (Tied)
Julia Koch was married to David Koch for 23 years until his death in 2019.Mary Altaffer/AP Photo
Born: 1963 (age 57) in Indianola, Iowa
Spouse: David Koch (m. 1996 until his death in 2019)
Famous quote: N/A
Bottom Line: Julia Flesher Koch
Julia Koch inherited a 42 percent stake in Koch Industries after her husband's death.Evan Agostini/Invision/AP Photo
Julia Flesher Koch is the widow of billionaire industrialist David Koch and inherited his riches after David died in 2019.
Julia was 27 when she met David in 1991. David was 50. She was working as an assistant for the designer Adolfo. After they got married, she became a famous socialite in New York City, where they lived.
She typically avoids the spotlight and lives in a $19 million mansion in Southampton, New York.
20. Charles Koch — $58.2 Billion (Tied)
Charles Koch became CEO of Koch Industries in 1967.Charles Koch Institute/Facebook
Born: Nov. 1, 1935 (age 85) in Wichita, Kansas
Spouse: Liz Koch (m. 1972)
Famous quote: "The role of business in society is to help people improve their lives by providing products and services they value more highly than their alternatives, and to do so while consuming fewer resources."
Bottom Line: Charles Koch
Charles Koch went to college at MIT and studied engineering with a focus on ways to refine oil.David Zalubowski/AP Photo
Charles Koch is a major donor to political advocacy groups and campaigns, almost entirely Republican.
He and his brother David, who died in 2019, were the infamous Koch brothers — Republican party heavyweights who threw massive amounts of dark money at various Republican organizations.
The Kochs made their money with Koch Industries, a multinational corporation based in Kansas that is the second-biggest private company in America. Its subsidiaries are involved in the manufacturing, refining, and distribution of petroleum, chemicals, energy and more.
19. Pony Ma — $59.5 billion
Pony Ma is chairman and CEO of Tencent Holdings.Kin Cheung/AP Photo
Born: Oct. 29, 1971 (age 49) in Guangdong, China
Spouse: Wang Dan-ting
Famous quote: "The leader of the market today may not necessarily be the leader tomorrow."
Bottom Line: Pony Ma
Pony Ma is an investor and philanthropist.Kin Cheung/AP Photo
Pony Ma is the founder, chairman and CEO of Tencent, the largest gaming company in the world and the biggest company in Asia.
However, he only owns a 7.4 percent stake in Tencent, which operates and owns the massively popular messaging app WeChat.
Ma leads a private life and owns about $150 million worth of property in Hong Kong.
18. Colin Huang — $62.3 Billion
Colin Hunang is a self-made billionaire.thanatopobia/Twitter.com
Born: 1980 (age 40) in Hangzhou, China
Famous quote: "Contrary to what it seems, forming a team with strong fighting power is actually much more difficult for international companies than for local Chinese companies."
Huang Zheng, better known as Colin Huang, is the founder and former CEO of Pinduoduo, Inc. a Chinese e-commerce marketplace that gained incredible momentum in just a few years.
Pinduoduo offers discounted items to Chinese users and integrates a social aspect of online purchasing by encouraging users to buy items together for additional rewards. Pinduoduo's business model eliminates the middle man and its algorithm focuses on making items go viral, allowing bulk purchases at low prices.
Not much is known about Zheng, except that he interned at Google and received a higher education in America. He recently cut his stake in Pinduoduo stock to 29.4 percent from 43.4 percent and stepped down as CEO after he made $25 billion in five months.
Bottom Line: Colin Huang
Huang Zheng, better known as Colin Huang, is the founder and former CEO of Pinduoduo, Inc. a Chinese e-commerce marketplace that gained incredible momentum in just a few years.
Pinduoduo offers discounted items to Chinese users and integrates a social aspect of online purchasing by encouraging users to buy items together for additional rewards. Pinduoduo's business model eliminates the middle man, and its algorithm focuses on making items go viral, allowing bulk purchases at low prices.
Zheng's first full-time job was at Google in 2004 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin with a master's degree in computer science. He recently cut his stake in Pinduoduo stock to 29.4 percent from 43.4 percent and stepped down as CEO after he made $25 billion in five months.
17. Alice Walton — $63.5 Billion
Alice Walton is the daughter of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton.April Brown/AP Photo
Born: Oct. 7, 1949 (age 71) in Newport, Arkansas
Spouse: Divorced twice (names and specific dates unavailable)
Famous quote: "One of the great responsibilities that I have is to manage my assets wisely, so that they create value."
Bottom Line: Alice Walton
Alice Walton at a Wal-Mart shareholder meeting in Fayetteville, Arkansas, in 2015.Danny Johnston/AP Photo
Alice Walton is the wealthiest woman in America. She is the daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton.
Rather than make her career all about Walmart, Alice went into the world of art. She created the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, with her own money.
She married twice, both times in her mid-twenties. Both ended in divorce and were short-lived.
16. Jim Walton — $63.7 Billion
Jim Walton in 2015.Charles Sykes/AP Photo
Born: June 7, 1948 (age 72) in Newport, Arkansas
Spouse: Lynne McNabb (m. 1970s)
Famous quote: N/A
Bottom Line: Jim Walton
Alice Walton, left, and Arvest Bank chairman Jim Walton, right, in 2013.Gareth Patterson/AP Photo
Jim is the youngest son of Walmart founder Sam Walton and heir to the Walton fortune.
He serves on the Walmart Board of Directors and was the CEO of Arvest Bank, which is owned almost entirely by the Waltons.
15. Rob Walton — $63.8 Billion
Rob Walton served as Walmart chairman from 1992 to 2015.Danny Johnston/AP Photo
Born: Oct. 28, 1944 (age 76) in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Spouse: Melani Lowman-Walton (m. 2005), Carolyn Funk (m. mid-1970s, div., 2000), Patricia Rawlings Walton (m. late 1960s, div. mid-1970s)
Famous quote: "I learned from my dad that change and experimentation are constants and important. You have to keep trying new things."
Bottom Line: Rob Walton
Rob Walton at Walmart shareholder meeting in 2015.Danny Johnston/AP Photo
Rob Walton is heir to the Walmart fortune and served as chairman of the big box chain from 1992 to 2015.
The Waltons live low-profile lives, so we don't know too much about Rob, but he has a legal and accounting background, and his strengths are more analytical.
He also has an extensive car collection, including a 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa and a Ferrari 250 GTO.
14. Amancio Ortega — $67.8 Billion
Amancio Ortega Gaona is the founder of Inditex, a Spanish multinational clothing company that is the largest fashion group in the world.Iago Lopez/AP Photo
Born: March 28, 1936 (age 84) in Busdongo de Arbás, León, Spain
Spouse: Rosalía Mera (m. 1966, div. 1986), Flora Pérez Marcote (m. 2001)
Famous quote: "In the street, I only want to be recognized by my family, my friends and people I work with."
Bottom Line: Amancio Ortega
Amancio Ortega in 2016.Iago Lopez/AP Photo
The tech sector may account for a lot of wealth in the world, but the 12th richest billionaire in the world and number three in Europe is the head of retail giant Inditex Ventures, most famous for the Zara fast-fashion clothing chain.
A quintessential rags-to-riches success story, Amancio Ortega rose from a humble, working-class background in Spain to run a multinational retail empire.
He kicked off his retirement at the end of 2017 at the age of 81.
13. Mukesh Ambani — $73.9 Billion
Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, right, and his wife, Nita, at the company's annual general meeting in Mumbai, India, in 2012.Rafiq Maqbool/AP Photo
Born: April 19, 1957 (age 63) in Aden, Yemen
Spouse: Nita Ambani (m. 1985)
Famous quote: "It is important to achieve our goals, but not at any cost."
Bottom Line: Mukesh Ambani
Mukesh Ambani is the chairman, managing director and largest shareholder of Reliance Industries, India's most valuable company by market value.Ajit Solanki/AP Photo
Mukesh Ambani is the owner of Reliance Industries, a multinational conglomerate with businesses in energy, retail and telecommunications.
He's looking to sell a $20 billion stake to Amazon, which would give Jeff Bezo's company a 40 percent holding in the company. If it goes through, it would be the biggest deal ever made in India.
Ambani also owns the Indian Premier League franchise the Mumbai Indians.
12. Francoise Bettencourt Meyers — $76.0 Billion
Francoise Bettencourt Meyers is the daughter of L'Oreal cosmetics fortune heiress Liliane Bettencourt.Francois Mori/AP
Born: July 10, 1953 (age 67) in Newport, Arkansas.
Spouse: Jean-Pierre Meyers
Famous quote: N/A
Bottom Line: Francoise Bettencourt Meyers
Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, left, inherited close $39.5 billion from her mother.Ian Langsdon/AP Photo
Francoise Bettencourt Meyers was the grandaughter of L'Oréal founder Eugene Schueller. Her mother was Liliane Bettencourt, one of the principal shareholders of L'Oréal.
Francoise was the only child of Liliane and Andre Bettencourt, and Francoise inherited an estimated $39.5 billion from her mother, who died in September 2017.
Francoise is a board member of L'Oréal and owns a majority share in the beauty company. She currently is the richest woman in the world and leads a very private life.
11. Steve Ballmer — $77.1 Billion
Steve Ballmer gives the keynote at the Streaming Media West 2000 Conference in San Jose, California.John Todd/AP Photo
Born: March 24, 1956 (age 64) in Detroit, Michigan
Spouse: Connie Snyder (m. 1990)
Famous quote: "I loved every minute of my time at Microsoft, but I had always envisioned having another phase of life just because I thought that would be interesting. It had never been my plan to work until I literally didn't want to do anything and then hang it up."
Bottom Line: Steve Ballmer
Steve Ballmer bought the Los Angeles Clippers in 2014.Rngo H.W. Chiu/AP Photo
Steve Ballmer took the reigns from Bill Gates and became CEO of Microsoft in 2000. He held that position for 14 years before leaving in 2014.
If his leadership at Microsoft was an app on the Microsoft Store it would have mixed reviews. He doubled Microsoft's profits but also failed to capitalize on critical technology trends like smartphones, internet browsers and tablets.
Ballmer now owns the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team and The Forum arena in Inglewood, California, which he purchased for $400 million in cash.
10. Larry Ellison — $78.6 Billion
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison.Flickr/Oracle PR
Born: Aug. 17, 1944 (age 76) in Manhattan, New York
Spouse: Adda Quinn (m. 1967, div. 1974), Nancy Wheeler Jenkins (m. 1977, div. 1978), Barbara Boothe (m. 1983, div. 1986), Melanie Craft (m. 2003, div. 2010)
Famous quote: "There’s a wonderful saying that’s dead wrong. Why did you climb the mountain? I climbed the mountain because it was there. That’s utter nonsense. ... You climbed the mountain because you were there, and you were curious if you could do it. You wondered what it would be like."
Bottom Line: Larry Ellison
Larry Ellison in 2010.Victor R. Caivano/AP Photo
Larry Ellison made his name (and fortune) as the founder of legendary database company Oracle.
While his roughly 25 percent stake in Oracle may account for a large portion of his wealth, Ellison also holds a diversified portfolio with investments across a number of industries, namely real estate and professional sports (including a sailing team and the tennis tournament at Indian Wells in California).
9. Sergey Brin — $78.9 Billion
Google cofounder Sergey Brin in 2016.Lee Jin-man/AP Photo
Nationality: American (Soviet until 1979)
Born: Aug. 21, 1973 (age 47) in Moscow, Soviet Union
Spouse: Anne Wojcicki (m. 2007, div. 2015), Nicole Shanahan (m. 2018)
Famous quote: "Obviously, everyone wants to be successful, but I want to be looked back on as very innovative, very trusted and ethical and ultimately making a big difference in the world."
Bottom Line: Sergey Brin
Google cofounders, CEO Larry Page, left, and chairman Sergey Brin, at the company headquarters in Mountain View, California, in 2000.Randi Lynn Beach/AP Photo
As cofounder of Google, Sergey Brin (on the red bean bag above with fellow cofounder Larry Page) is a member of the elite group of tech titans that got their start in a San Francisco-area garage.
Brin was the president of Alphabet, Google's parent company, until 2019, and remains a controlling shareholder, board member and employee. Brin had a hand in Google's innovative offshoot Google X, where the company's many geniuses were hard at work on various "moon shots," working to find solutions to some of the world's most pressing problems.
In addition to his role in inventions like Google Glass, Brin went a little off-brand in 2007 to executive produce the movie "Broken Arrows" with his fellow Google cofounder, Page.
8. Larry Page — $81.5 Billion
Larry Page speaks at the Fortune Global Forum in San Francisco in 2015.Jeff Chiu/AP Photo
Born: March 26, 1973 (age 47) in East Lansing, Michigan
Spouse: Lucinda Page (m. 2007)
Famous quote: "For a lot of companies, it’s useful for them to feel like they have an obvious competitor and to rally around that. I personally believe it’s better to shoot higher. You don’t want to be looking at your competitors. You want to be looking at what’s possible and how to make the world better."
Bottom Line: Larry Page
Larry Page is Google's cofounder and former chief executive.Jeff Chiu/AP Photo
With his business partner Sergey Brin, Larry Page claimed his place in history and helped to change the world as the cofounder of Google and then its CEO.
Page became the CEO of Google's holding company (Alphabet) in 2015 and controlled the world's largest search engine operator.
He stepped down from that position in 2019 and remains an Alphabet board member, employee and controlling shareholder.
7. Warren Buffett — $87.2 Billion
Warren Buffett attends the world premiere screening of HBO's "Becoming Warren Buffett" at The Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2017.Charles Sykes/Invision/AP Photo
Born: Aug. 30, 1930 (age 90), in Omaha, Nebraska
Spouse: Susan Thompson (m. 1952 until her death in 2004), Astrid Menks (m. 2006)
Famous quote: "We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful."
Bottom Line: Warren Buffet
Warren Buffet at an NADA Automotive forum in New York City in 2015.Mary Altaffer/AP Photo
Warren "the Oracle of Omaha" Buffett's origin story is as American as the proverbial apple pie.
Known as one of the most successful and prolific investors of all time, Buffett famously began his professional career as a paperboy and rode an enviable work ethic all the way to the top of the finance world, culminating with his holding company, Berkshire Hathaway.
Fun fact: Berkshire Hathaway was originally a textile manufacturer, which eventually came to be the umbrella for 60-plus companies under management.
6. Zhong Shanshan — $93.4 Billion
Zhong Shanshan toasts to success.ForbesAsia/Twitter
Born: 1954 (age 66), Hangzhou, China
Famous quote: "Twenty years ago, people drank packaged water because they were thirsty. Now, they drink it to wash down the bubbly or sour wine. Wherever there is wine, there should be (packaged drinking) water."
Bottom Line: Zhong Shanshan
Zhong Shanshan dropped out of school when he was 12.BrandThinkme/Twitter
Zhong Shanshan is the bottled water king of China and became one of the country's richest men in 2020.
Zhong grew up in a wealthy family, but his parents were killed by Chairman Mao during the Cultural Revolution, according to TRT World. He worked various jobs before becoming an entrepreneur in his 20s. His various endeavors included an erectile dysfunction pill made from turtle parts, which didn't pass regulatory standards.
He eventually founded Nongfu Spring and ran a successful ad campaign promising natural water with minerals in a bottle. Nongfu Spring expanded into soft drinks and premium water as well. It went public in September 2020, skyrocketing Zhong into being one of the wealthiest people in the world and helping him become the richest person in China.
5. Mark Zuckerberg — $99.9 Billion
Mark Zuckerberg is the chairman, CEO and controlling shareholder of Facebook.Steven Senne/AP Photo
Born: May 14, 1984 (age 36) in White Plains, New York
Spouse: Priscilla Chan (m. 2012)
Famous quote: "They trust me. Dumb f---s."
Bottom Line: Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook at Harvard in 2004.Mark Lennihan/AP Photo
Like most of the famous tech entrepreneurs on the list, Mark Zuckerberg needs no introduction. Like Bill Gates, Zuckerberg famously left Harvard early to work on the social network that would come to change the world and influence everything from politics and media to interpersonal communications.
As cofounder and current chairman and CEO of Facebook, Zuckerberg is the youngest member of the list. Since 2017, his net worth has shot from $62 billion to close to $100 billion, making him the fifth richest person in the world.
4. Bernard Arnault — $114 Billion
Bernard Arnault is the chairman and CEO of LVMH.Flickr/Ecole Polytechnique Université
Born: March 5, 1949 (age 71) in Roubaix, France
Spouse: Anne Dewavrin (m. 1973, div. 1990), Hélène Mercier (m. 1991)
Famous quote: "If you deeply appreciate and love what creative people do and how they think, which is usually in unpredictable and irrational ways, then you can start to understand them. And finally, you can see inside their minds and DNA."
Bottom Line: Bernard Arnault
Bernard Arnault leads the world's largest luxury-goods company.Thibault Camus/AP Photo
Bernard is another European who also made his fortune in the retail sector.
As chairman of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Bernard Arnault controls the world's biggest luxury goods house, which in addition to the beloved Louis Vuitton brand also includes high-profile brands like Tag Heuer and Dom Perignon champagne.
Since 2018, Arnault's net worth has increased by more than $40 billion.
3. Bill Gates — $132 Billion
Bill Gates speaking at the 2008 World Economic Forum.Andy Mettler/Wikimedia
Born: Oct. 28, 1955 (age 65) in Seattle, Washington
Spouse: Melinda Gates (m. 1994)
Famous quote: "Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose."
Bottom Line: Bill Gates
Bill Gates was the richest person in the world for many years before Jeff Bezos dethroned him in 2018.Ludovic Marin/AP Photo
It might come as a surprise to some that Bill Gates, who had dominated "world's richest" lists for well over a decade, is currently in third place. For a while, he slipped into a neck-and-neck battle with Jeff Bezos, where, depending on the day and the stock market, each could land in the top spot. These days, though, there really isn't much of a battle.
As cofounder of Microsoft, Gates still holds a 2.4 percent stake in the company, along with a portfolio of diversified assets through a number of publicly traded companies across multiple business sectors, including Canada's biggest railroad operator.
Through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and The Giving Pledge, Gates has pledged a large portion of his fortune to help solve some of the world's most pressing public health problems.
2. Jeff Bezos — $184 Billion
Jeff Bezos founded Amazon in 1994.Instagram/Eugene Hsu
Born: Jan. 12, 1964 (age 56) in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Spouse: MacKenzie Tuttle (m. 1993, d. 2019)
Famous quote: "There are two kinds of companies, those that work to try to charge more and those that work to charge less. We will be the second."
Bottom Line: Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos is the richest person in the world.Charles Krupa/AP Photo
Jeff Bezos has become synonymous with his company, Amazon, the online book retailer turned global e-commerce juggernaut he founded in Seattle in 1994.
Bezos still runs Amazon, which generated $232.8 billion in revenue in 2019. In addition to retail and tech, Amazon has also ventured into the streaming game, with a number of original shows in development.
It used to be that when Amazon's stock price surged up, Bezos edged out Bill Gates and moved into the pole position on Bloomberg's Index. And when Amazon's stock eased up, Bezos could slip into the second position. But Amazon's success put Bezos out of reach. Until 2021, when a new No. 1 emerged for the first time since 2017.
1. Elon Musk — $185 Billion
Elon Musk is the founder, CEO, and chief engineer/designer of SpaceX.John Raoux/AP Photo
Nationality: South African/Canadian/American
Born: June 28, 1971 (age 49) in Pretoria, South Africa
Spouse: Justine Wilson, (m. 2000, div. 2008), Talulah Riley (m. 2010-2012, m. 2013-2016), Claire Elise Boucher (current partner)
Famous quote: "Being an entrepreneur is like eating glass and staring into the abyss of death."
Bottom Line: Elon Musk
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk in 2020.Susan Walsh/AP Photo
Elon Musk has been making headlines since 2002 with the founding of SpaceX and then with Tesla in 2003. But it was when he joined Twitter in 2009 that he really started to gain a following and demigod status among his most fervent supporters.
SpaceX made its first manned spaceflight in May 2020, while Tesla became the world's best-selling electric car that same year. In 2020, Musk decided to sell all of his homes (about $100 million worth of California real estate) and rent instead.
In January 2021, Musk passed Jeff Bezos to become the richest man in the world.
See the full Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Related: Wealthiest Countries in the World