For years people all over the world have shown extreme interest in the wealthiest people in the world and their activities. The reason for this interest is not to track them down and pitch them an idea for the next best thing – no, it is because by following these people we follow the actions of people who can mold the world.
In 2011 the Billionaire List marked two new records. The first is total number of billionaires in the world, that number is 1,210 and the wealth they control, $4.5 trillion. There are 214 new names on the list. Of them, Brazil, Russia, India and China accounted for nearly half of the 104 new to the title billionaire . These four countries account for 1 in 4 new names on the list. China with 115 new members of the billionaire club and Russia with 101 new billionaire club members now join the United States in having more than 100 names on the billionaire list.
Carlos Slim Helu #1
Mexican resident Carlos Slim Helu and family head the billionaire list. Their net worth has increased to $74 billion. The family’s primary source of wealth is from Telecom related industries. They top the list for the second year in a row, additionally, his wealth grew by $20.5 billion. A robust Mexican stock market, stronger peso, and lucrative real estate and mining sell offs from syndicate Grupo Carso all helped push up his net worth.
Bill Gates #2
American Bill Gates is the number two billionaire in the world and has increased his wealth to $56 billion. He is close with Warren Buffett who is number three on the billionaire list. Gates and Buffett together convinced almost 60 of the world’s wealthiest people to sign Gate’s “Living Pledge,” thus promising to give most of their wealth to charity during their lifetime or at death. Gates founded the Gates Foundation, arguably the world’s most prominent charity. The Gates foundation deals with health issues such as polio, tuberculosis and AIDS. It also funds research in famine-resistant crops to fight hunger. Nearly 70% of Gates’ wealth is in the investment fund Cascade. The balance of Gates’ wealth is held in Microsoft stock.
Warren Buffett #3
United States citizen Warren Buffett is the world’s number three billionaire . Buffett’s investment in Berkshire Hathaway earned 15% more than the year earlier, increasing Buffett’s wealth by $3 billion now sitting comfortably at $50 billion. All indications are that Buffett is planning some major acquisitions shortly. He recently said: “Our elephant gun has been reloaded, and my trigger finger is itchy.” Buffett who is 80, not only is working with Bill Gates on the “Living Pledge,” they are also bridge partners.
Bernard Arnault #4
Frenchmen Bernard Arnault has a net worth of $41 billion – this means he is the wealthiest billionaire in Europe. His personal fortune shot up by $13.5 billion as shares in his luxury goods company LVMH increased by more than 50% thanks continued demand for high-end goods in Asian markets such Ho Chi Minh City and Shangai,. Last year LVMH took control of 20% of Hermes. Although Hermes has expressed concern that Arnault is a hostile stockholder, a charge Arnault denies. Other holdings include French tour company Go Voyages, yacht builder Royal Van Lent, French retailer Carrefour and a luxury hotel in Courchevel.
Larry Ellison #5
U.S. Citizen and Oracle founder Larry Ellison rounds out the list of the top 5 billionaire people in the world. With a net worth now at $39.5 billion, Ellison grew his wealth in the past year by $11.5 billion. The amazing upward growth in net worth is from a 30% increase in the value of Oracle shares. In 2010 Oracle bought Sun Microsystems. Ellison plans to give 95% of his fortune to charity.
Newcomers to the of Billionaire List include Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and co-founders Eduardo Saverin and Dustin Moskovitz and Russian Yuri Milner. Other US citizens new to the list are Do Won and Jim Sook Chang who founded Forever21 along with Chris Cline, owner of more than 3 billion tons of coal in Illinois.
The composition of the list of the wealthiest people in the world follows the trend of economic globalism. Thailand, for instance has added three billionaires this year. Once America had 50% of all billionaires, today that ratio has decreased to one in three.