The wealthiest individuals on Earth are not immune to the coronavirus. As the pandemic tightened its hold on Europe and America, global stock markets plummeted, causing many fortunes to collapse.
Despite the financial devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 has been a good year for the world’s richest people. Data collected by the Swiss bank UBS reveals that 31 new people have joined the billionaires’ club.
The list of the world’s wealthiest persons can vary from year to year, depending on their latest net worth and financial performance. In 2020, there were reportedly 2,095 billionaires on Earth, 58 fewer than a year ago and 226 less than 12 days earlier. In gross terms, the world’s billionaires are worth $8 trillion, $700 billion less than in 2019. Here is the latest list of the world’s top 10 richest persons, based on the real-time Forbes list of January 11, 2021 and some interesting facts about each of them.
1* Elon R Musk
|1||$197B||49||United States||Tesla, SpaceX, Self Made||Technology|
Tesla’s owner claimed the title of the world’s wealthiest man after his net worth surpassed $185 billion.
The South Africa-born entrepreneur ended the three-year reign of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos at the head of the global wealthy list after Tesla’s share price rose yesterday.
Musk’s electric car company is now priced at $700 billion, higher than Toyota, Volkswagen, Hyundai, GM and Ford all combined. Elon Musk is working to revolutionize transportation both on Earth, through electric car maker Tesla – and in space, via rocket producer SpaceX.
Celebrating his new status as a rich man in a distinctive offbeat style, Musk tweeted “how strange”, followed by “well, back to work”.
2* Jeff Bezos
|2||$185b||56||United States||Amazon Self Made||Technology|
Jeff Bezos created the e-commerce colossus Amazon in 1994 in his Seattle garage. He manages it as CEO and owns an 11.1% stake. Bezos has invested heavily in space technology too, and also owns The Washington Post newspaper and Blue Origin, an aerospace corporation that develops rockets for commercial use.
Between March and April 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, Amazon declared it had hired 175,000 additional employees.
In April 2020, Bezos said he would donate $100 million to Feed America, a non-profit organization that operates food banks and pantries across the country.
Amazon has been blamed by U.S. senators and the community at large for its handling of storage workers throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
He divorced his wife MacKenzie in 2019 after 25 years of marriage and gave her a quarter of his share in Amazon.
In 2019, Amazon achieved revenues of $280.5 billion and a record net profit of $11.5 billion.
|3||$134 B||64||United States||Microsoft||Technology|
The founder of Microsoft has consistently remained at the top of the wealthy list for the past 20 years, although he sold and then disposed of a large part of his shares in the company. He now owns only 1% of the company and concentrates mostly on his charitable work. Together with his wife Melinda, Bill Gates co-chairs the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s biggest private charitable organization.
In May 2020, the Gates Foundation declared that it would spend $300 million to fight the coronavirus pandemic, providing funding for treatment, detection and vaccines.
4*Bernard Arnault & family
|4||$116 B||71||France||LVMH||Fashion /Retail|
Bernard Arnault, a French citizen, is Chairman and CEO of LVMH, the world’s largest luxury goods company. One of the greatest creators of taste in the world, Bernard leads an empire of 70 brands, including the world’s greatest brands such as Louis Vuitton, Hennessey, Marc Jacobs, Sephora, and many others. However, the majority of his fortune actually comes from his massive stake in Christian Dior SE, the holding company that manages 41.2% of LVMH. Its shares in Christian Dior SE, in addition to 6.2% of LVMH, are themselves owned by its family holding company, Groupe Arnault S.E.
In November 2019, LVMH signed an agreement to purchase the American jeweler Tiffany & Co. for 16.2 billion dollars, which is considered to be the biggest acquisition of a luxury brand ever made. Arnault is the wealthiest European on the list.
5* Mark Zuckerberg
|5||$95.6 B||36||United states||Technology|
Zuckerberg made his fortune after launching Facebook in 2004 at the age of 19, alongside fellow classmates Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes, while he was studying psychology and computer science at Harvard University.
When Facebook started to be used at other universities, Zuckerberg quit Harvard to focus completely on his growing business.
Today, Mr. Zuckerberg is the CEO and chairman of Facebook, which had more than 2.7 billion active users per month in the third quarter of 2020.
Facebook is the world’s largest social networking service, allowing users to create a personal profile, connect with friends and family, join or create groups, and much more. Since the site is completely free to use, most of the company’s revenue is generated by publicity.
Facebook (the Company) also hosts many other brands, including the photo sharing application Instagram, which it acquired in 2012; the multi-platform mobile messaging service WhatsApp and virtual reality headset producer Oculus, both acquired in 2014; Workplace, its enterprise connectivity platform; Portal, its range of video calling devices; and Novi, its digital portfolio for the Diem payment system.
Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, co-founded the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative in 2015, each of them co-CEOs. Their charity works to harness technology to address societal issues such as improving access to and quality of education, reforming the U.S. Criminal Justice and Immigration systems, increasing housing affordability, and eradicating all diseases.
|6||$91.3B||66||China||beverages, pharmaceuticals, Self Made|
Finance & Investments
Recently ranked among the top 10 richest, Shanshan is the founder and chairman of Nongfu Spring, China’s largest beverage company, which went public on the Hong Kong stock exchange in September 2020. and also owns the pharmaceutical giant Wantai.
Born in Hangzhou, Zhong left elementary school during China’s chaotic Cultural Revolution.
He later worked as a construction worker, journalist and beverage sales agent before starting his own business.
By December 2020, he became the richest person in China and the richest person in Asia, ahead of the Indian Mukesh Ambani. In January 2021, he overtook Warren Buffett to become the 6th richest person in the world.
7* Warren Buffett
|7||$86.6B||90||United States||Berkshire Hathaway, Self Made|
Finance & Investments
Now in his ninth decade, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, known as the “Oracle of Omagh,” is one of the most successful investors of all time.
Mr. Buffett heads Berkshire Hathaway, which owns more than 60 companies, including the insurer Geico, battery manufacturer Duracell and the Dairy Queen restaurant chain.
The son of a U.S. Congressman, he bought his first shares at age 11 and filed his first tax return at age 13.
Like Mr. Gates, he is committed to donating more than 99% of his fortune to charity. To date, he has donated more than $41 billion, primarily to the Gates Foundation and his children’s foundations.
In 2010, he and Bill Gates launched the Giving Pledge, which asks billionaires to pledge at least half of their wealth to charitable causes.
|8||$ 83.6B||47||United States||Technology|
Internet entrepreneur Page is one of the co-founders of Google. He stepped down as CEO of Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc. in December 2019, but remains a member of the board of directors.
He co-founded Google in 1998 with another Stanford Ph.D. student, Sergey Brin.
With Brin, Page created Google’s PageRank algorithm, which powers the search engine.
Page served as CEO until 2001, when Eric Schmidt took over, and then from 2011 to 2015, when he became CEO of Google’s new parent company, Alphabet.
He is among the founding investors in the space exploration company Planetary Resources and also sponsors the “flying car” startups Kitty Hawk and Opener.
|9||$ 82.1B||46||United States||Google, |
Along with Larry Page, Brin co-founded Google in 1998. They first met at Stanford University while studying for graduate diplomas in computer science.Google went public in 2004 and later changed its name to Alphabet in 2015.
Sergey Brin stepped down as CEO of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, in December 2019, but remains a majority shareholder and a member of the Board of Directors.
Brin was absent from Alphabet’s public events for much of 2019; he spent his time in Alphabet’s X Research Lab.
Brin would fund a high-tech airship project.
10* Larry Ellison
|10||$ 80 B||76||United States||software, |
Another recent entry on the list of the wealthiest, Mr. Ellison is co-founder, executive chairman and chief technology officer of Oracle Corporation, a U.S. multinational information technology company, of which he owns approximately 35.4%.He stepped down as CEO of Oracle in 2014 after 37 years at the head of the company.
Oracle has expanded in part through regular additions to software companies, the largest of which was a $9.3 billion acquisition of Netsuite in 2016.
In May 2016, Ellison promised $200 million to the University of Southern California for a cancer treatment center.
In 2012, Ellison spent $300 million to purchase nearly all of the Hawaiian island of Lanai; to date, he has built a hydroponic farm and a luxury spa on the island.