The number of billionaires in the world has dropped to 2,668 this year due to the impact of war, the Covid pandemic and plunging stock markets – but the richest people are still worth $12.7 trillion, according to the Forbes 2022 list.
Celebrities such as singer Rihanna and Lord of the Rings Director Peter Jackson were among 329 people to join the ranks of the world’s billionaires for the first time this year, whilst Peloton’s John Foley dropped from the list.
It came as no surprise that Elon Musk, worth an estimated $216 billion, topped the Forbes 2022 World Billionaire’s list for the first time after he became the world’s richest man late last year.
Musk has added $68 billion to his fortune over the past year after the share price of Tesla jumped 33 per cent.
Musk knocked Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos off the top spot, who fell to the second richest person for the first time in four years with a net worth of $171 billion. French fashion tycoon Bernard Arnault was named the world’s third richest person whilst Bill Gates and Warren Buffett were fourth and fifth.
Celebrities such as singer Rihanna (right) and Lord of the Rings Director Peter Jackson were among 329 people to join the ranks of the world’s billionaires for the first time this year. It came as no surprise that Elon Musk (left), worth an estimated $216 billion, topped the Forbes 2022 World Billionaire’s list
The number of billionaires in the world has dropped to 2,668 this year due to the impact of war, the Covid pandemic and plunging stock markets – but the richest people are still worth $12.7 trillion, according to the Forbes 2022 list
Following a volatile year in the markets, Forbes found there were fewer billionaires than the previous year, with 2,668 in 2022 compared to a record 2,755 in 2021. The group’s net worth also decreased from $13.1 trillion to $12.7 trillion.
But for 1,050 billionaires – including Musk, Gates and Arnault – they managed to get richer than they were a year ago. Forbes used stock prices and exchange rates from March 11 to calculate net worths of the billionaires.
Among the world’s 2,668 billionaires, 86 are under the age of 40 whilst 12 are under the age of 30.
The world’s youngest billionaire, 19-year-old German drugstore chain heir Kevin David Lehmann, who is worth $2.4 billion, and newcomer Gary Wang, 28, the American cofounder cryptocurrency exchange FTX worth $5.9 billion, are among the 12 under the age of 30.
There were also 327 women who are billionaires – the majority of whom inherited their wealth, such as the world’s richest woman Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, whose grandfather founded beauty giant L’Oréal.
Peloton’s John Foley (left) dropped from the list of billionaires, whilst the world’s richest woman Francoise Bettencourt Meyers (right), whose grandfather founded beauty giant L’Oréal, is on the list
The United States has more billionaires than any other country with 735. China has the second most billionaires with 607, followed by India with 166 and Germany with 134
In terms of countries, Barbados, Bulgaria, Estonia and Uruguay saw their first ever billionaires rise up, whilst the United States has more billionaires than any other country with 735. China has the second most billionaires with 607, followed by India with 166 and Germany with 134.
Russia’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine – and the sanctions imposed by Western leaders as a result – damaged the country’s stock market and the ruble, meaning 34 Russians dropped off the list.
The wealth of Russian billionaires also dropped by more than $260 billion from $584 in 2021 to $320 billion this year, according to Forbes.
Top ten richest billionaires in the world: Elon Musk tops the list with Google’s Larry Page, Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos all ranking high
1. Elon Musk (United States)
$219 billion – Tesla and SpaceX
Elon Musk, 50, became the world’s richest man late last year and saw a 33 per cent jump in the share price of his electric car company Tesla.
Earlier this week, it emerged the mogul acquired a 9.2 per cent stake in Twitter, making him the company’s largest shareholder.
Meanwhile, Musk’s rocket company, is valued at $74 billion after a funding round in February 2021.
Musk, who was born in South Africa and emigrated to Canada in the late 1980s, owns 21 per cent of Tesla, but about half of his shares were pledged as collateral for loans.
He started out his career by founding his own company – Zip2 – with his brother Kimbal, with the business focused on boosting media companies’ digital assets and building local city guides. In 1999, at the height of the dot com boom, they were bought for $307m by Compaq Computers. Musk took home $21m – he was 27.
2. Jeff Bezos (United States)
$171 billion – Amazon
Jeff Bezos fell to being the second richest man in the world for the first time in four years late last year, being surpassed by Musk.
The drop from first to second was due to a three per cent drop in Amazon stock prices and Bezos donating $6 billion to charities.
Bezos founded Amazon in 1994 from his garage in Seattle and stepped down as CEO of the company to become the executive chairman in July 2021.
In that year, Bezos sold $8.8 billion worth of his Amazon stock, meaning he now owns just under 10 per cent of the company.
Bezos also owns The Washington Post and Blue Origin, an aerospace company developing rockets.
3. Bernard Arnault and family (France)
$158 billion – LVMH
The fashion mogul (pictured with Helene in 2019) has seen his fortune jump more than $110billion in the past 14 months
Bernald Arnault runs the Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) empire of 70 fashion and cosmetics brands, including Sephora, Christian Dior, Givenchy and Louis Vuitton.
In January last year, LVMH made a huge luxury fashion business deal after acquiring Tiffany & Co. for $15.8 billion, while Arnault then promoted his son to leadership of the American jeweler.
LVMH’s acquisition of Tiffany & Co. followed a bitter legal dispute. LVMH backed away as the COVID-19 pandemic hammered luxury goods sales, but ultimately renegotiated a discounted purchase price.
Arnault also invested in Netflix back in 1999 while he also entered the yacht business and bought Princess Yachts in 2008.
Showing off his interest in yachts, he owns the stunning $150million superyacht Symphony, which measures 101.5metres, carries 20 passengers and boasts an outdoor cinema and jacuzzi.
Arnault lives in a stunning 150-year-old castle in northwest Saint-Emilion in Bordeaux, France, that has belonged to the billionaire’s family since 1998, while he also owns stunning home in the ultra-prestigious Les Parcs de Saint-Tropez enclave.
Among his portfolio, Arnault also boasts around five homes in Beverly Hills, worth around $125million in total, two of which are in the the Trousdale Estates neighborhood, according to Capitalism.com.
4. Bill Gates (United States)
$129 billion – Microsoft
Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, has turned his fortune from the software firm into a more diverse portfolio, including investments in carbon energy.
Gates and his wife Melina announced they were ending their marriage in May last year after 27 years. Melinda got about $65 billion in the divorce.
Gates has transferred at least $5.7 billion worth of shares in public companies to Melinda.
He stepped down from the Microsoft board in March 2020 and at the time he owned about one per cent of the company.
Gates has invested in a number of companies including Canadian National Railway and AutoNation. He also owns some of the largest farmland in the US.
Warren Buffett is the owner of the multinational conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway
5. Warren Buffet (United States)
$118 billion – Berkshire Hathaway
Warren Buffett is the owner of the multinational conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway.
The company’s shares increased by 15 per cent in 2021 alone after Berkshire Hathaway bought stakes in Chevron and Verizon in February that year.
Buffett personally added around $23 billion to his net worth between September 2020 and 2021 according to CNN Business.
Berkshire Hathaway is a holding company headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska that owns outstanding stocks for a number of different companies. It also completely owns GEICO, Duracell, and Dairy Queen, among several other companies.
It also partially owns at least five per cent of several companies, including American Express, Bank of America, and The Coca-Cola Company – many of which have done well despite the pandemic lockdowns.
Larry Page founded Google with Sergey Brin in the 1990s and is the sixth-richest person in the world
6. Larry Page (United States)
$111 billion – Google
Larry Page founded Google with Sergey Brin in the 1990s and is the sixth-richest person in the world.
Page has reportedly become become reclusive over the past several years – avoiding being photographed except for a handful of times since stepping down as CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc. in 2019.
He has spent months in Fiji during the coronavirus pandemic – mostly on the island of Tavarua – and it has been rumored the billionaire has bought at least one island in the country’s Mamanuca archipelago
Google’s co-founders Page and Brin, who still hold incredible control over the company despite having both stepped away, have largely avoided scrutiny while stepping out of the limelight.
Page was CEO of Google until 2001, when Eric Schmidt took over, and also from 2011 until 2015, when he became CEO of Google’s new parent company Alphabet.
Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, stepped down as the president of Alphabet – the parent company of Google – in December 2019
7. Sergey Brin (United States)
$107 billion – Google
Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, stepped down as the president of Alphabet – the parent company of Google – in December 2019. But he remains a controller shareholder and board member at the company.
Brin co-founded Google with Page in 1998 after the pair met at Stanford University.
He has shifted his focus from technology to aviation, with plans to build the world’s largest airship to assist with disaster relief worldwide.
The billionaire’s company LTA Research and Exploration is reportedly aiming to build a massive 656-foot-long craft powered by an ‘equally record-breaking’ hydrogen fuel cell.
Larry Ellison, the co-founder of Oracle, currently lives on a private island in Hawaii called Lana’i
8. Larry Ellison (Hawaii)
$106 billion – Oracle Corporation
Larry Ellison, the co-founder of Oracle, currently lives on a private island in Hawaii called Lana’i.
Ellison, who owns 98% of Lana’i, is currently involved in several development projects for locals on Lana’i according to Recode including a preschool and low-income housing.
Ellison owns around 35 per cent of software giant Oracle, where he is chairman and chief technology officer as well as co-founder.
He resigned as the CEO of the company in 2014 after 37 years.
Ellison joined Tesla’s board in December 2018, after purchasing 3 million Tesla shares earlier that year.
Steve Ballmer was the CEO of Microsoft for 14 years between 2000 and 2014
9. Steve Ballmer (United States)
$91.4 billion – Microsoft
Steve Ballmer was the CEO of Microsoft for 14 years between 2000 and 2014.
He joined the company as an employee after dropping out of the MBA program at Stanford.
When he retired in 2014, Ballmer bought the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion.
In 2018, Ballmer invested $59 million in Social Solutions, which creates software for charities and government agencies.
10. Mukesh Ambani (India)
$90.7 billion – Reliance
Mukesh Ambani, who heads India’s richest family, owns the $74 billion company Reliance, which is focused on oil and gas as well as telecom and retail
Mukesh Ambani, who heads India’s richest family, owns the $74 billion company Reliance, which is focused on oil and gas as well as telecom and retail.
The Ambani family have seen the likes of Hillary Clinton and Priyanka Chopra attend their family weddings.
They own the Mumbai Indians cricket franchise which features some of the game’s biggest stars and have previously been linked with buying Liverpool or West Ham football clubs.
The family’s Reliance Industries business sparked a price war in India’s telecom market with their launch of Jio, a 4G phone service, in 2016.
During the pandemic, Mukesh has been able to raise more than $20 billion selling a third of Jio to companies such as Google and Facebook.