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15 July 2024

This man earns $21,000 per minute; know him?

By Vicky Kapur

For those of us feeling a bit low today, here’s some cheerful bit of news.

There are about 1,500 dollar billionaires in the world, with their total wealth amounting to a staggering $5.5 trillion, the equivalent of China’s GDP.

The Hurun Global Rich List 2013 is out, which ranks the 1,453 US dollar billionaires currently in the world. If you were wondering, wealth calculations are a snapshot of January 17, 2013 – there’s not much scope of these wealthy folk having lost a lot of their riches between the compilation of the list and you reading this.

Of the 1,453 billionaires, 108 boast of wealth in excess of $10 billion. While for you and me that might just be a number, each one of those 100-plus individuals has more than $10,000,000,000 in their kitty.

And this, by no means, is a comprehensive list.

“For every billionaire that Hurun Report has found, I estimate we have missed at least two, meaning that today there are probably 4,000 dollar billionaires in the world,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, Chairman and Chief Researcher of Hurun Report. So if you ever wondered why you weren’t featured, that is why.

The richest man on earth – one Carlos Slim of Mexico – has $66 billion at his disposal. In fact, he added a whopping $11bn to his wealth in 2012 – yes, that works out to $20,871.28, or Dh76,660.22, every minute of every hour of each one of the 366 days (2012 was a leap year) last year.

What, that didn’t perk you up? Well, we tried.

But now that you’ve come this far, read on to find out about the fortunes of the rest of the 10 richest people in the world, and some nuggets about where these billionaires huddle together.

Nevertheless, this is the first time that Hurun Report has released a ranking of the dollar billionaires in the world, the so-called ‘Nine-Zero Club’, and follows on from a ranking last year of the ‘Ten-Zero Club’, the 83 individuals with $10 billion.

For the record, the Hurun Global Rich List 2013 is sponsored by luxury property development Agile Property Hainan Clearwater Bay in China’s Hainan Island.

Let’s have a look-see at the pecking order on the money tree:

The Top 10 Billionaires

Wealth ($bn)
% change yoy
Key Source of Wealth
Carlos Slim Helu & family
America Movil
Warren Buffett
Berkshire Hathaway
Amancio Ortega
Bill Gates
Bernard Arnault
Larry Ellison
Li Ka-shing
Cheung Kong
Charles Koch
David Koch
Liliane Bettencourt

Interestingly, as would be obvious to discerning readers from the table above, each one of the top 10 billionaires added at least 8 per cent – and at most 53 per cent – to their wealth.

The 73-year old Carlos Slim added to his financial weight, consolidating his hold on the title of the ‘Richest Man on the Planet’ with a personal fortune of $66bn, growing it by $11bn over the year.

The 82-year old Warren Buffett moved up one place to second in the world on the back of a $10bn increase in his wealth. This past year has seen Buffett continue his large-scale investments, with the purchase of the Heinz brand for over $20bn. In September 2012, Buffett completed treatment for prostate cancer.

Despite Spain’s recent financial pain, the third-ranked Amancio Ortega has seen his fortune rise by $23bn, a massive 53 per cent, on the back of continued global expansion of the Zara fashion brand, which has propelled Ortega into third place up from seventh last year. Ortega is, by the way, Europe’s richest person.

Despite the 57-year-old seeing his wealth grow by $4bn to $54bn, Bill Gates fell out of the top three this year, for the first time, dropping down from second place to fourth this year. He still remains the youngest member of the global top 10 list, however.

The 63-year-old Bernard Arnault, France’s richest person and the ‘King of Luxury’, saw his wealth rise by $9bn to land him in fifth place. This past year, LVMH has posted record sales and a 12 per cent profit hike.

Larry Ellison managed to keep his sixth place with a net increase of $9bn on last year. The bulk of his fortune comes from his 23 per cent stake in Oracle, which in February this year agreed to acquire Acme Packet for $2.1bn.

The 85-year old Li Ka-Shing saw his wealth increase by $8bn to retain his title of Asia’s Richest Man. This past year, Li has consolidated his position as the UK’s biggest foreign investor, adding to his collection of water and gas utilities.

Energy tycoons Charles and David Koch’s grew their combined wealth by $14bn to take them to a personal fortune of $31bn each and joint 8th place. Were they to be ranked jointly, they would be on $62bn, taking them to second place in the world.

L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt broke into the Top Ten for the first time, and is the richest woman on the planet with a $30bn fortune. The other richest women include two of the Wal-mart heirs Christy Walton ($29bn, rank 11), Alice Walton ($28.5bn, rank 13), Iris Fontbona ($20bn, rank 29) and Georgina Rinehart (Roy Hill Iron Ore Mine, $17bn, rank 42).

The Rest of the Rich

#11: Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud

Not on the list of the Top 10 – but still worth a fortune – is the No. 11 ranked Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud, a business tycoon and member of the Saudi Royal family.

Prince Alwaleed saw his wealth grow by $8bn in 2012, mainly on back of 80 per cent gain in his listed Kingdom Holdings, in which he holds a 95 per cent stake. Investment portfolio consists of real estate, media, luxury hotels, banks and information technology companies. He is known to have stakes in Citigroup, Apple, NewsCorp and Twitter. Prince Alwaleed has been reported to have recently sold off his $500 million Airbus 380 ‘Flying Palace’.

#11= to #15: Walton family

Christy Walton is the richest women in the US and second richest in the globe. Walton inherited the fortune form John T Walton, son of Sam Walton, founder of Wal-mart. Christy Walton is worth $29bn and is ranked at a joint #11 with Saudi Prince Alwaleed. Alice Walton, Jim Walton and Robson Walton all shadow her, with $28.5bn each in wealth and are ranked at a joint No. 13. In fact, were the Wal-mart fortunes to be combined, the family would have $124bn this year, making them the richest family in the world.

#16: Karl Albrecht

Despite the ‘thirteenth’ rank, which some might consider unlucky, Albrecht is the richest man in Germany, and, at 92 years of age, is the oldest person in the Top 20. His fortune comes from discount retail store Aldi Sud, which has over 4,500 stores.

#17: Jeff Bezos

At 49, Bezos is the youngest billionaire in the Top 20 – a good eight year’s younger to Bill Gates. Founder of Amazon, Bezos has grown his wealth by $7bn on the back of the Kindle Fire’s success, jumping him from 36th place last year to 19th this year.

#18: Ingvar Kamprad and Family

Of Swedish origin but now living in Switzerland, the founder of Ikea has expanded into a credit card business and real estate investments. Low-key Kamprad reportedly drives a Volvo 240GL that he has owned for two decades. In 2012, Ikea received government approval to enter Indian market.

#19=: Bertrand Puech and Family

Puech is the third richest person in France. Inherited luxury brand Hermes, which posted over $3bn in profits in 2011, up 18 per cent year on year.

#19=: Stefan Persson

The 65-year-old Stefan Persson is a Swedish business magnate. He is the current chairman and main shareholder in fashion company H&M, which was founded by his father Erling Persson in 1947.

Where the rich live, what’s their average age, and other tidbits

Asia was home to the highest number of billionaires this year with most of them operating in real estate sector.  The average age is 63. One in ten is female.

This past year has seen a rebound in the wealth of private sector.  Stock markets in the US have risen and the US dollar has got stronger, rising against the Brazilian Real by 19 per cent, Indian Rupee by 12 per cent and Japanese Yen by 6 per cent, making it harder for locals to make the cut-off.

The Hurun Global Top Ten grew by 26 per cent on average. The so-called ‘Ten-Zero Club’ – individuals with $10bn or more – grew by 25 individuals to 108 billionaires.

The Hurun Global Rich List 2013 shows that being male, American and over 60 makes you the right candidate to be among the world’s very richest individuals. However, be prepared to make your fortune yourself. Seven of the top 10 on the Hurun Global Rich List are self-made. Five are from the US, three are Europeans, one is South American and one Chinese,

The average age of the Top 10 is 74, eleven years older than for the whole list.

Billionaire Breakdowns – Continents, Countries and Cities

Asia is home to the lion’s share of billionaires on the planet with 608 individuals, followed by North America with 440 billionaires and Europe 324.

By country, the US was home to 409 billionaires, comfortably ahead of the 317 from China. Between the US and China, they now have half of all billionaires on the planet.

Moscow is the billionaire capital of the world, home to 76 billionaires, edging out New York which has 70.  London came in at fifth place behind HK and Beijing.  Five of the Top Ten cities for billionaires are in Greater China.

Country Highlights

The US: Ranks No. 1 with 409 billionaires. Investments, Technology, Media & Telecom (TMT) and retail are the top three sources of wealth for American billionaires, with 102, 88 and 40 billionaires, respectively. The combined wealth of the US billionaires is $1712bn, with New York as their capital.

Greater China: Ranks second with 349 individuals. Top three industries are real estate, manufacturing and investments. The average age is 58 years old, five years younger than the average of the full list.  Significantly all Chinese billionaires are self-made.

Russia: Comes in third with 88 billionaires. 100 per cent are self-made. The most popular sectors are energy, real estate and manufacturing. Moscow rank No: 1 city in Russia with 76 billionaires. Combined wealth of the Russian billionaires comes to $368bn.

Germany: Ranks No, 4 with 61 billionaires. Hamburg is the preferred city. TMT is the biggest wealth creator with 11 billionaires followed by retail and food & beverages with 9 each. Combined wealth of $311bn.

UK: Ranks No. 5 with 56 billionaires. Real estate is preferred industry with 11 billionaires. London is the hands-down winner with 40 billionaires living there.

India: Ranks No. 6 with 53 billionaires. Healthcare is the preferred sector followed by TMT and real estate.  Mumbai is headquarters to most billionaires, followed by Delhi and Bangalore. Mukesh Ambani ($20.5bn, rank 27) is the richest Indian. Ambani is also the owner of the world’s most expensive home, costing $1.8bn, and spreading across 27 floors, with nine elevators, six floors for parking and three helipads. Another Indian, 2011 Emmy Award winner, Subhash Chandra ($3.1bn, rank 450), was once a onetime rice trader in Haryana, who is credited with launching India’s satellite television revolution.

India also has a high number of billionaires residing overseas, including LN Mittal (London), S.P. Hinduja and Family (London), Micky Jagtiani (Dubai), Anil Agarwal (London), Aloke Lohia (Bangkok), Kavitha Ram Shriram (California), Romesh T Wadhwani (California), Manoj Bhargava (Michigan), Sri Prakash Lohia (London), and Vinod Khosla (California). MA Yousuf Ali of Emke Group of Companies is a new entrant to the list residing at Dubai

Switzerland: 7th with 40 billionaires. The No. 1 city for billionaires is Geneva. Preferred sector is manufacturing with 5 billionaires, followed by mining and retail.

Brazil: 8th with 33 billionaires. Financial services is preferred industry with 13 billionaires. Sao Paulo tops the list with 19 billionaires.

Chinese Taipei: 9th with 32 billionaires. Taipei is the preferred city with 22 billionaires. Almost all have significant investments in Mainland China.

France: 10th with 31 billionaires. Paris being the preferred city. Luxury and F&B share top spot for billionaires.

Oceania is the only continent where a woman leads the billionaires’ list.

Being in the right business

Real Estate produced the most billionaires – 219, accounting for 16 per cent of the entire list. The wealthiest individual in this category is HK-based Li Ka-shing. Seven of the Top 10 real estate tycoons in the world are living in China, predominantly in HK but also with two from mainland China, a reflection of the urbanisation boom of the last generation. Two of the other three are from the UK and one from the US.

Telecoms Media and Technology (TMT) comes in just behind Real Estate with 200 billionaires, led by Slim. Investments is the third top billionaire-producing industry with 169 individuals, Warren Buffet being top of this sector, having net worth of $58bn.