Forbes billionaires list swells to 1,826 people


The ranks of the world’s wealthiest defied falling oil prices and a global slowdown to expand to 1,826 people, including 290 new billionaires, according to Forbes.

Its list of the world’s richest people is still topped by Bill Gates, who’s claimed the top ranking for 16 years.

The former Microsoft chief saw his fortune grow to $79.2 billion., up $3.2 billion since last year.

A raft of Silicon Valley billionaires are nipping at his heels. Mark Zuckerberg cracked the top 20 this year for the first time, with the Facebook founder coming in at No. 16 with a fortune of $33.4 billion.

Michael Jordan

Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan reacts to a call during a game. He is on the Forbes list of billionaires for the first time. (Chuck Burton/Associated Press)

The other techies in the top 10 include Jeff Bezos of Amazon with $34.3 billion and Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google, with $29.7 billion and $29.2 billion respectively.

Joining the billionaires list for the first time are the new generation of social media technology trendsetters, among them Uber founders Garrett Camp, Travis Kalanick and Ryan Graves, plus Airbnb creators Brian Chesky, Nathan Blecharczyk and Joe Gebbia, and Snapchat founders Bobby Murphy and Evan Spiegel.

The most prominent new billionaire is Michael Jordan, who rakes in $90 million a year from Nike and saw his stake in the Charlotte Hornets rocket up in value after ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer bought the Los Angeles Clippers for a stunning $2 billion. The former athlete just scrapes into the list with net worth of $1 billion.

Among the 290 newcomers, 71 come from China and another 57 come from the U.S., which once again dominates the billionaires list. Among the new Chinese billionaires is Jack Ma, worth $22.2 billion since the listing of his Alibaba e-commerce firm in the U.S.

No. 2 on the list is Carlos Slim Helu, the Mexican telecom billionaire, and No. 4 is Amancio Ortega, who founded Spanish retailer Zara.

Holding the No. 3 spot is a long-time member of the list – Warren Buffett, whose value investing style helped boost him up the list one point. His fortune increased $14.5 billion to $72.7 billion as the share value of Berkshire Hathaway increased.

Both the Koch brothers, Charles and David, who invest heavily in lobbying government are among the top 20, as are four of the heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune.

Top 20 richest people,

  1. Bill Gates, Microsoft, U.S., $79.2B
  2. Carlos Slim Helu, telecom, Mexico, $77.1B
  3. Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway, U.S., $72.7B
  4. Amancio Ortega, Zara, Spain, $64.5B
  5. Larry Ellison, Oracle, U.S., $54.3B
  6. Charles Koch, diversified, U.S., $42.9B
  7. David Koch, diversified, U.S., $42.9B
  8. Christy Walton, Wal-Mart, U.S., $41.7B
  9. Jim Walton, Wal-Mart, U.S., $40.6B
  10. Liliane Bettencourt, L’Oreal, France, $40.1B
  11. Alice Walton, Wal-Mart, U.S., $39.4B
  12. S. Robson Walton, Wal-Mart, U.S., $39.1B
  13. Bernard Arnault, LVMH, France, $37.2B
  14. Michael Bloomberg, Bloomberg LP, U.S., $35.5B
  15. Jeff Bezos, Amazon, U.S., $34.8B
  16. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook, U.S., $33.4B
  17. Li Ka-shing, diversified, Hong Kong, $33.3B
  18. Sheldon Adelson, casinos, U.S., $31.4B
  19. Larry Page. Google, U.S., $29.7B
  20. Sergey Brin, Google, U.S., $29.2B

Forbes said 1,191 of those on the list are self-made billionaires, while just 230 inherited their wealth. Another 405 inherited at least a portion, but also worked to increase their wealth.

Forbes bases its annual list on the wealth of each member as of Feb. 13, factoring in that day’s stock prices and exchange rates and working from public documents.