Forbes has unveiled the updated list of the world’s richest people, showing us again who’s making money around the globe. We’ve extracted the top ten entries of the incredibly long list of 1153 billionaires of the world, and we are ready to share the news with you.
The 2012 top ten list is not that different from that of 2011, with only three new names marking the difference between the two. Together, the Earth’s billionaires sum up a whopping $4.6 trillion in personal wealth, which is considerably more than the Gross Domestic Products (GDPs) of the 127 poorest countries in the world, and a little higher than India’s GDP.
New in the top ten are Li Ka-Shing, who is the richest person in all of Asia, Stefan Persson of H&M, who last year occupied the 13th position, and Karl Albrecht, who this year made it to the 10th position on the list.
This is the third year of “reign” for Carlos Slim Helu. Half of his entire wealth comes from American Movil shares, which have dropped lately, resulting in a $5 billion reduction in his fortune, as compared to the year 2010. At 72 years of age, the magnate doesn’t want for anything. Even though the Mexican regulators fined one of his brands for monopolistic prices with a mind-boggling sum of $1 billion, Slim’s fortune is too large for such an event to affect him personally. Furthermore, the company is appealing the fine, so the money will probably not even leave his accounts.
One of the mot generous wealthy people in the world, Bill Gates has played a huge role in the eradication of poliomyelitis in India, and he still keeps donating staggering amounts of money to different causes around the world. As he keeps receiving huge amounts of money from Microsoft shares, stocks, bonds, and private equity, Gates continues to pour out his generosity on millions of people. He also invested a couple of billions in small farmers as he wants to help reestablish agricultural traditionalism. Not only does he himself give away generously, but by creating the Giving Pledge, he also encourages other magnates to do the same.
Another generous soul is Warren Buffett, a man who believes that the wealthy should give away more than the average people. He is 81 years old now, and a great example for the rest of the world. According to his “Buffett Rule”, the wealthy should pay at least 30% tax rate, thus contributing more than the less fortunate people. In one year he lost $6 billion, after taking some bad decisions – as he himself has admitted – that led to a 7% decrease in Berkshire stock value.
His ever blooming business – the famous LVMH group and world leader in luxury – has helped the wealthy Frenchman to considerably increase his fortune this year. Even though he lost some cash due to the lower turnover of the Carrefour supermarket chain, Arnault still made a lot of money this past year, especially since LVMH’s profits went up by 22 percent. Aged 63, the magnate owns the superb Indigo Island in the Bahamas, and Cheval Blanc ski chalet in Courchevel. His island is available for rent at $300,000 per week.
Mr. Ortega started out as an employee in his father’s store, and now he is the fifth richest person in the world. Aged 75, he resigned from the position of Inditex Chairman a year ago, but is still earning pots of money through his blooming company. Inditex shares went up by a quarter this year, raising Amancio Ortega’s wealth by a whopping $6.5 billion.
The Spanish magnate owns stakes in a soccer league, a horse-jumping track, the luxurious Epic Residences & Hotel in Miami, and the Torre Picasso skyscraper in Madrid.
The Oracle Corporation has been facing serious difficulties during the past months, due to significant fluctuations that affected its profits. As the company’s sales decreased, Mr. Ellison’s fortune dropped down by $3.5 billion. In an attempt to solve this issue, the Oracle CEO purchased Taleo and RightNow for $1.9 billion and $1.5 billion, respectively. Oracle also recently bought social marketing platform Vitrue and Collective Intelligence.
Eike Batista is the richest man in Brazil, and the owner of OGX Petroleo e Gas gas and oil driller. Two thirds of his immense fortune comes from the 61 percentages that he owns in the aforementioned company. This translates to a whopping $19.8 billion.
Currently living in Rio de Janeiro, Mr. Batista has two children and is divorced. Last year he invested $1.5 billion in what can be described as a very promising opportunity. He used the money to buy a private gold mine in Colombia, Canada, called Ventana Gold. And we all know the price of gold can only go higher with every passing year!
The main shareholder and chairman of H&M, Stefan Persson, also purchased Versace and Marni last year, and had its first stores opened in Croatia, Romania and Singapore. He now owns an impressive 2,500 stores in 43 countries!
The company was founded by Stefan Persson’s father, Erling, back in 1947, and he took over H&M in 1982. He resigned from the position of CEO in 1998, and later promoted his son, Karl-Johan, to the position, in 2009. One interesting move that he made for his company was that he bought 5 million additional shares only to give 4 million of them (worth roughly $150 million) to an employee stimulating program.
The 83 year old Chinese magnate was first named the richest person in Asia back in 2004. This year, however, it is the first time since 2007 that he made it to the top ten list of wealthiest people in the world. His main business is Hutchison Whampoa Limited (HWL), a company that has 270,000 employees all around the world, covering 53 countries.
Interestingly, one of every seven residences in Hong Kong was built by his company, and approximately 13 percent of all container traffic in the world is dealt with by Hutchison Port Holdings. One of his most recent purchases was Northumbrian Water, the group providing sewage services and supplies drinking water to millions of people. It’s a wonder, really, how he needed so much time to make it on the list.
Karl Albrecht’s story of success began in his mother’s corner grocery store, after World War II. He and his brother Theo began their small venture there, and expanded their business in the years that followed. The huge company – Aldi Sud – is now a successful retail chain, with 4,500 stores around the world, of which 1,200 are spread across the U.S.
Karl and his brother split the brand, with the former taking the rights for UK, US, and Australia, plus the more profitable stores in Southern Germany. In order to keep costs as low as possible, the stores have a strict no-bling policy, and it doesn’t accept credit card payments for the same reason.