The 2017 Hurun Global Rich List has ranked 2,257 billionaires from 68 countries and from 1,811 companies in another record-breaking year for the world’s super-rich.
Total billionaire wealth increased by 16% to US$8.0 trillion, the group said, equivalent to 10.7% of global GDP, and up from 7% of global GDP five years ago.
It has been generally another good year for the billionaires of the world. 1,037 saw their wealth increase, with 343 new faces added to the billionaire club.
The report found that 740 individuals saw their wealth decrease, while a further 276 dropped off the list.
Chinese billionaires led the USA for the second year running, with 609 featured on the list, compared to 552 from the States.
It has been a good year for Germany, which surged past India into third place. India lost 11 billionaires mainly on the back of demonetisation, while Russia lost 12 billionaires despite a 30% appreciation of the ruble to the dollar.
As many as six South Africans feature on the list, the same number as in 2015.
South Africa saw Nicky Oppenheimer & family – of De Beers Fame – overtake Pepkor’s Chris Wiese as the country’s wealthiest man by a small margin.
South Africa, as has been the case for several years, is represented by six billionaires, who mostly profited from a stronger rand in 2016, as indicated below.
South Africa’s billionaires
|2017 rank||2016 rank||Name||2016 Net worth (US$bn)||2017 Net worth (US$bn)|
Bill Gates is still the richest man in the world, despite only growing 1% to US$81 billion.
In December 2016, he launched a US$1 billion fund to invest in new forms of clean energy with aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to almost zero.
Warren Buffett held onto second place, increasing his wealth to US$78 billion, up US$10 billion after a surge in the Berkshire Hathaway share price.
So far Buffett has donated US$17 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, making him one of the world’s top 3 most generous philanthropists, along with Bill Gates and George Soros.
Jeff Bezos of Amazon, has broken into the Top 3 for the first time, and at one point threatening even to take the Number One slot away from Bill Gates.
His wealth surged to US$72 billion, up 37%. Bezos cashed out US$671 million from selling 1% of his stake in Amazon.
Amancio Ortega of Zara, has dropped down one place to fourth with US$69 billion. Ortega’s daughter Sandra Ortega Mera also makes the list with US$5.8 billion.
Mark Zuckerberg, the youngest of the Top 10, shot up to fifth, his highest ranking yet, after a US$11 billion surge in his fortune to US$58 billion.
Zuckerberg, along with wife Priscilla Chan, announced he plans to give away 99% of his Facebook stock.
Larry Ellison, of Oracle, was sixth with US$48 billion, up 4%. Ellison invests into real estate around the world, including a Rhode Island estate and historic gardens in Kyoto.
Carlos Slim Helu, the Mexican telecom tycoon, dropped out of the Top 5 after an 8% drop in wealth to US$46 billion. He hit major headwinds this year mainly due to the weaker Mexican peso.
Slim holds a 17% stake in The New York Times and announced the launch of a new television channel “made by Mexicans, for Mexicans” in the US this year.
The Koch brothers Charles and David held onto two slots in the Top 10 and are major supporters of the Republican Party.
With a net worth of US$42 billion, Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City, saw his wealth increase by 13% to keep him in the Top 10.
The world’s top 10 billionaires
|2017 Rank||2016 Rank||Name||Net Worth (US$bn)||Wealth Change (%)|
|7||5||Carlos Slim Helu||46||-8%|