The billionaire billboard: Top 10 richest people on the planet

#1 Bill Gates with his $78.2bn fortune

The UK’s GDP: £2.43 trillion.

The world’s 300 richest people’s collective wealth: $3.7 trillion.

Yes, you read that right. The world’s top 300 billionaires collectively own more than one and a half times of what the British economy is worth.

According to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index, the richest people on earth added a whopping $524bn to their collective net worth last year.

The research found that more than 100 billionaires were created in 2013 including the youngest female billionaire Lynsi Torres, the 31-year-old owner of US burger chain In-N-Out.

The year 2013 turned out to be lucky for some and lousy for others. Microsoft mogul Bill Gates was last year’s biggest winner with a fortune worth a grand total of $78.5bn. The biggest loser was Brazilian businessman Eika Batista who fell from the eighth richest man in March 2012 to having negative net worth after his oil company, Oleo e Gas Participacoes, filed for bankruptcy protection in October.

Take a look at the top 10 richest people on the planet:

1. Bill Gates

Net worth: $78.2bn

Bill Gates

He only works part time and has pledged to give half of his wealth to good causes.

Yet in May last year, Bill Gates dethroned Mexican telecoms magnate Carlos Slim to become the richest man in the world. His $78.2bn wealth pile swelled as Microsoft’s share price soared 40%.

Gates went laughing to the bank last year also thanks to other stocks in his portfolio going through the roof. While stock price of Canadian National Railway company was up 34%, hand sanitiser company Ecolab was up 45%.

Gates has, to date, donated $28bn to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, an initiative to help education, world health and population.

Quick trivia: Did you know Apple gadgets are banned in the Gates family?

Read: Five things you didn’t know about Bill Gates

2. Carlos Slim Helu

Net worth: $72bn

carlos slim

Carlos Slim Helu may have been bumped off from the top spot on the billionaires list but that’s the lesser of his worries. He told ace broadcaster Larry King recently that he’d like to lost 20 pounds.

The Mexican mobile phone tycoon owns America Movil, the largest mobile-phone operator in the Americas. He owns 70% of Mexico’s mobile sector and provides 80% of all Mexican landlines. But last year, Mexico’s Congress passed a telecoms reform bill putting a 50% market share limit which may force Helu to sell assets over the next five years.

Helu’s portfolio spans banking (Inbursa), mining (Minera Frisco), Media (New York Times) and construction. Last year, he invested $40m (£26m) in Hammersmith-based music app Shazam.

3. Amancio Ortega

Net worth: $65.3bn

Amancio Ortega

Amancio Ortega owns 59% of Inditex, the world’s largest clothing retailer that also owns Zara. He’s the world’s third-richest and Spain’s richest man. Yet, he’s never had an office. According to Bloomberg, he “likes to roam in design area and factories”.

Known to be very reclusive, an old national ID is the only photo that made it to the press till 1999. He stepped down as chairman of Inditex in 2011 and is known to have raked in 2.8 billion euros in dividend since 2001.

4. Warren Buffett

Net worth: $60.3bn

Warren Buffett

Berkshire Hathaway owner Warren Buffett made $37m a day in 2013 and is known as the “Oracle of Omaha” for his infallible market intuition. His benchmark to measure business performance is being able to add value to his business quicker than the Standard & Poor’s 500. He’s never missed a target in 44 years. However, analysts expect that this year Berkshire Hathaway may not hit its goal.

He joined Twitter this year with his first tweet being “Warren is in the house”. The tweet was retweeted over 43,000 times and Buffett amassed over 730,000 followers.

Known to be a keen philanthropist, he auctions lunches with himself with this year’s winner paying $1,000,100. In the past five years, his lunch auctions have raised over $2m.

5. Ingvar Kamprad

Net worth: $52.8bn

Ingvar Kamprad, IKEA founder

IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad flies economy and shops in the local market only at the end of the day to get good bargins. Known to very frugal with his cash, the 87-year-old billionaire lives in a modest bungalow in Switzerland. In June 2013, Kamprad’s youngest son was given the operational control of IKEA.

Kamprad considers joining the local Nazi party, Svensk Socialistisk Samling, in 1943, as the “biggest mistake” of his life.

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6. Charles Koch

Net worth: $50bn

Charles Koch

 

Since inheriting their father’s business, Koch Industries, Charles Koch and his brother David have expanded their business to over 2,600 times the size it was when they got their hands on it.

The company started off with refining crude oil and now manufactures a vast array of products, including fertilizers, carpets and paper coffee cups.

Charles, a Tea-party supporter, has amassed a $50bn fortune. His philanthropic donations have focused on research and educational projects dedicated to promoting free-market views.

7. David Koch

Net worth: $50bn

David Koch

The younger brother of Charles, David Koch is New York’s wealthiest resident, with a fortune equal to his brother’s $50bn. A chemical engineer, he joined the family business in 1970 and has helped build the firm into the second largest privately held business in the US. Koch was also the Libertarian party’s vice-presidential candidate in the 1980 election, before aligning himself with the Republican party.

Koch has donated hundreds of millions to the arts, as well as to cancer charities. He supports gay marriage and stem cell research, but remains sceptical about human influence on global warming.

8. Larry Ellison

Net worth: $43.3bn

Larry Ellison

Ellison is the founder and majority stakeholder of Oracle, the world’s largest database company. He retains more than 26% of Oracle, which he first set up with $1,200 of his own money in 1977. He also has a 46% stake in software company Net Suite.

He is estimated to hold around $4.5bn in cash, and owns the Hawaiian island Lanai.

Other fascinating nuggets of information concerning Ellison include his friend Steve Jobs employment as the official photographer at Ellison’s fourth wedding in 2003, and that his daughter Megan was the producer of the Osama Bin Laden manhunt film Zero Dark Thirty.

9. Christy Walton

Net worth: $39.1bn

Walmart Christy

The only woman to make it into the world’s top 10 richest people is Christy Walton, the widow of John T. Walton, who was the second son of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton. Christy’s inherited fortune consists of a 12.2% stake in Wal-Mart, the largest private employer in America, and also 25 million shares in First Solar, a manufacturer of solar panels. Her wealth stands at $39.1bn.

Her husband died in the crash of an experimental aircraft in 2005, and Christy subsequently gave their Victorian mansion in Wyoming to charity.

10. Sheldon Adelson

Net worth: $37.5bn

Sheldon Adelson

Adelson is the majority shareholder in Las Vegas Sands, the world’s largest casino company.

Worth $37.5bn, Adelson is known to describe himself as the “world’s richest Jew”. The company now operates casinos and conference centres in the US, Macau and Singapore.  

Adelson was an early entrepreneur, and kicked off his career in business at the age of 12, when he borrowed $200 from his uncle to buy a licence to sell newspapers in Boston.

Adelson also founded and owns Israeli newspaper HaYom, which became the most read weekday newspaper in Israel just four years after its inception in July 2007.

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