The year 2017 seems a record year as the number of the richest people in the world, and we’re talking billionaires here, rose by 13 percent. Last year, the number was 1,810. In 2017, it rose to 2,043, with a combined total net worth of $7.67 trillion, which is up by 18% over last year. It’s been 31 years since Forbes Magazine started tracking the number of billionaires in the world, and 2017 is the year when records were set.
Top 10 billionaires
For the year 2017, Bill Gates is still on top of the list. This is the fourth year that he’s been listed as the richest man on earth. For 18 years out of 23, Bill Gates has been named as the richest person globally. In 2016, his fortune was $75 billion.This year it went up to $86 billion.
The second spot was stolen by Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett from Zara’s founder, Amancio Ortega, who fell to number four. Third in the ranking is Jeff Bezos of Amazon. He moved from number five, as his net worth increased from $45.2 billion last year to $72.8 billion this year.
Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook now occupies the number five slot vacated by Jeff Bezos while Carlos Slim Helu (América Móvil) of Mexico, who used to be the richest man on the planet, fell to number six. Larry Ellison (Oracle), Charles Koch (Koch Industries), David Koch (Koch Industries) and Michael Bloomberg (Bloomberg LP), occupy numbers seven to ten, respectively.
In the 2017 list, an interesting mix of people emerged. India has 101 billionaires who made it to the list, led by Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries. Mainland China is in the lead for the country with the most number of new billionaires with 76, followed by the United States, which had 25.
The youngest self-made billionaire in the world is Irish citizen John Collison, who’s only 26. Together with his brother Patrick, aged 28 and partner Cliff Asness, an American hedge fund tycoon, they founded Stripe, an e-commerce payment platform. Other newbies are Norway’s Torstein Hagen, the founder of Viking Cruises and Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, an American outdoor sportswear clothing company. The founders of Snapchat, Evan Spiegel (26) and Robert Murphy (28) are the other two of the only four self-made billionaires who are in their 20s in the 2017 list.
Last year, there were 66 persons in their 40s who were included in the list. This year, it went down to 56 as the others’ net worth either went under the $1 billion mark or they’ve aged.
Australia’s new billionaire, Manny Stul, is the CEO of Moose Toys, makers of the very popular Shopkins, the small plastic collectible toys inspired by grocery items. Stul, whose parents were Polish refugees and holocaust survivors, was born in a refugee camp in Germany before his family was able to travel to Australia. He was an Ernst and Young World Entrepreneur of the Year winner in 2016, the first to win an award from Australia.
Fourteen Filipinos also made it to the 2017 list of billionaires, led by 92-year old Henry Sy of SM Investments Corporation. With a net worth of $12.7 billion, he is at number 94. Although the number is still small, 227 women were in the list of billionaires. Fifteen of them became rich on their own, with most of them from the Asia Pacific region. Ten of them came from China. For the first time, a Vietnamese woman made it to the list. Her name is Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, founder of VietJet Air, a budget airline.
Segregating them by country, the United States leads with 565 in the overall tally, while China has 319, aside from Hong Kong’s 67 and Macau’s 1. In third place is Germany with 114, followed by India.