Each year, Shanghai based research firm, Hurun publishes a series of wealth reports. Widely recognized as the foremost authority in tracking the rapid changes amongst Chinese ultra high net worth (UHNW) individuals, their Rich List is considered by some as the de-facto benchmark of the global elite, including China’s secretive billionaire class.
This year’s Hurun Global Rich List 2016 ranked 2188 billionaires from 68 countries, up 99 from last year. In another record-breaking year for the world’s billionaires, total wealth increased by 9% to US$7.3 trillion, more than the GDP of Germany and the UK combined, and coming close to half that of the USA.
Top 10 Wealthiest Billionaires in the World
According to the Hurun Global Rich List 2016:
- Bill Gates, 60, retains the Number 1 spot with a fortune of US$80bn. Gates becomes the first person alive today to have created a US$100bn fortune, having given away more than US$20bn to date. In January, he bought a new home near Seattle, a 6,000 sq metre property, for US$150 million.
- Warren Buffett, 85, saw his wealth decrease by US$8bn or 11%, US$2.2bn of which was a donation to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Buffett has recently been buying into oil refiner Phillips 66. Interestingly, 99 percent of his wealth was earned after his 50th birthday.
- Amancio Ortega, 79, is back in the top 3 this year. Inditex, the mother ship of Zara, closed January with its share price close to historic highs. Daughter Sandra Ortega Mera also makes the list with US$5.5bn, inherited from her mother.
- Jeff Bezos, 52, shot into the Top 10 for the first time with a US$24bn or 83% increase in wealth to fourth spot with US$53bn on the back of a surge in Amazon shares. Together with Elon Musk of SpaceX and Tesla fame (US$8.8bn, up 38% to 134th place), Bezos has been making headlines for his space project: at the end of last year Bezos successfully launched and returned a booster and capsule from a suborbital flight. Bezos in 2013 purchased the Washington Post.
- Carlos Slim Helu, 76, dropped out of Top 3 after losing 40% or US$33bn of his fortune, mainly on the back of big drops in America Movil and Mineras Fresco. The Mexican billionaire has built a museum in Mexico City to house his US$100 million collection of art.
- Mark Zuckerberg, 31, the youngest member of the Top 10, has had a good year, seeing his wealth rise US$3bn to US$47bn. Zuckerberg made world headlines in December when he announced that he would donate 99% of his Facebook stock to a charity set up with wife Priscilla Chan.
- Larry Ellison, 71, with US$47bn, saw his wealth drop by 15%, on the back of a reduction in Oracle’s stock price. Ellison has donated US$4m to the presidential campaign of Marco Rubio.
- Charles, 80, and David Koch, 75, retain their Top 10 spots on the back of a combined US$16bn increase in their wealth. Charles Koch is an important donor to the Republican presidential campaign.
- Bernard Arnault, 66, with US$37bn, saw his wealth drop by 18%, on the back of a reduction in LVMH stock price. He is the chairman and CEO of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
- With a net worth of US$37bn, Michael Bloomberg, 73, shot into the top 10 for the first time on the back of a rise in sales at his media group. Bloomberg, who was reported to be toying with the idea of running for President as an independent, donated US$1bn to John Hopkins University.