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Making Billions: The Richest People in the World

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The Richest People in the World

In the last year, the wealth controlled by the world’s top 10 billionaires has jumped by over $76B.

Even in the teeth of jittery markets, many of the world’s richest people have seen their wealth surge to new heights as COVID-19 unfolds.

Today’s infographic draws data from Forbes Billionaire’s List and shows a broad cross-section of the world’s billionaires – highlighting their stratospheric wealth in the current economic climate.

Wealth in Astonishing Circumstances

The below table shows the fortunes of the world’s 10 richest people, comparing the numbers from March 5, 2019 to the most recent data from April 22, 2020.

RankNameNet Worth 2020*Net Worth 2019*Change 2019-2020
#1Jeff Bezos$145B$131B+$14.1B
#2Bill Gates$104B$97B+$7.1B
#3Bernard Arnault & Family$92B$76B+$15.5B
#4Warren Buffett$73B$83B-$9.1B
#5Mark Zuckerberg$69B$62B+$6.5B
#6Larry Ellison$66B$63B+$3.4B
#7Steve Ballmer$63B$41B+$21.3B
#8Amancio Ortega$61B$63B-$2.2B
#9Larry Page$58B$51B+$7.6B
#10Jim Walton$57B$45B+$12.0B
Total Change+$76.2B

Source: Forbes – *As of April 22, 2020 **As of March 5, 2019

Gaining the highest across the top 10 is former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who saw his fortune rise over $21 billion since March 2019.

Facing the steepest losses belong to investing luminary Warren Buffett, whose net worth has dropped over $9 billion over the past year. At year-end 2019 Buffett was a 11% shareholder in Delta Airlines. In April, Buffett sold 13 million shares in the airline.

Meanwhile, Mark Zuckerberg’s fortune is holding steady. Amazingly, the Facebook founder still remains one of the world’s youngest billionaires (ranking 22nd out of 2,095) despite first joining the billionaire club a dozen years ago.

Newcomers to the List

As a new decade begins, who are among the most newly-minted billionaires?

Eric Yuan, CEO of Zoom has climbed in the ranks as online video communication demand soars. Zoom went public in April 2019 at a stunning $9.2 billion IPO valuation. As of April 24, 2020, Zoom was valued at over $44.3 billion.

RankNameNet WorthSource of Wealth
#1Eric Yuan$7.8BZoom
#2Anthony von Mandl$3.9BMark Anthony Brands
#3Larry Xiangdong Chen$3.6BGSX Techedu
#4Dmitry Bukhman$3.1BPlayrix
#5Igor Bukhman$3.1BPlayrix
#6Sun Huaiqing$3.0BGuangdong Marubi Biotechnology
#7Forrest Li$2.4BSea Group
#8Byju Raveendran$1.7BByju's
#9Jitse Groen$1.5BTakeaway.com
#10Qian Ying$1.5BMuyuan Foods

*As of April 22, 2020

Similarly, Netherland’s Jitse Groen has witnessed his food-delivery company Takeaway.com expand extensively. Takeaway.com currently operates in 11 countries across Europe and received regulatory approval to complete a $7.6 billion merger with JustEat in April.

Forrest Li who runs Sea, an online-gaming and e-commerce company, has similarly joined the ranks. Tencent and private equity firm General Atlantic are among its major stakeholders.

The COVID-19 Response

As the global economy contends with a loss of confidence and job losses, some of the world’s richest people are stepping up to the plate.
Billionaires with COVID-19 donations

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is donating roughly 25% of his net worth to COVID-19 in the form of Square stock, valued at $1B.

His donation, which was placed in a donor-advised fund called Start Small LLC, is more than four times higher than any other billionaire. That said, after the pandemic, Dorsey also stated that this money may also go towards girl’s health and education, as well as universal basic income (UBI).

RankNameCOVID-19-Related Donation% of Net Worth
#1Jack Dorsey$1B25.6%
#2Bill & Melinda Gates$255M0.2%
#3Azim Premji$132M2.2%
#4Andrew Forrest$100M+1.2%+
#5Jeff Bezos$100M0.1%
#6Michael Dell$100M0.4%
#7Lynn Schusterman, Stacy Schusterman$70M2.1%
#8Amancio Ortega$68M0.1%
#9Nicky Oppenheimer$54.5M0.7%
#10Johann Rupert$54.5M1.1%

*As of April 15, 2020

Overall, 77 of the world’s billionaires have made public contributions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, just a fraction of the world’s ultra-rich.

As COVID-19 continues to spread globally, will the world’s billionaires still accumulate wealth at greater speeds, or will a different picture emerge as unconventional policies around the world become increasingly commonplace?

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Ranked: The Largest Gold Reserves, by Country

The U.S. holds the world’s largest gold reserves, totaling 8,133 tonnes. This graphic showcases the top 11 gold reserves by country.

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Bar chart showing Top 11 Countries by Gold Reserves

Ranked: The Largest Gold Reserves, by Country

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Gold remains an important store of value, serving as a hedge and retaining value during economic crises. In 2023, amid uncertainty about US interest rates and continued geopolitical risks, the metal once again demonstrated its importance by hitting a new record in December.

This graphic, by Sam Parker, displays the top 11 countries by gold reserves as of September 2023, based on data from Central Banks, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the World Gold Council.

Central Bank Gold Demand

Most of the world’s gold is stored in various locations, including central bank vaults, private depositories, and jewelry holdings.

Countries maintain gold reserves for various reasons.

Firstly, gold serves as a stable and dependable store of value, enhancing confidence in a nation’s economic stability, especially during times of financial uncertainty.

Additionally, despite the waning relevance of the gold standard, some countries still deem gold reserves crucial for maintaining currency stability.

Moreover, gold’s tangibility enables countries to diversify their overall portfolio. Currently, almost one-fifth of all the gold ever mined is held by central banks.

The U.S. boasts the world’s largest gold reserves, with 8,133 tonnes stored in 12 Federal Reserve Banks across the country:

CountryTonnes of Gold
🇺🇸 USA8,133 t
🇩🇪 Germany3,353 t
🇮🇹 Italy2,452 t
🇫🇷 France2,437 t
🇷🇺 Russia2,333 t
🇨🇳 China2,192 t
🇨🇭 Switzerland1,040 t
🇯🇵 Japan847 t
🇮🇳 India801 t
🇳🇱 Netherlands612 t
🇹🇷 Turkey479 t

Russia and China—arguably the United States’ top geopolitical rivals—have been the largest gold buyers over the last two decades. The People’s Bank of China was the biggest buyer of gold last year, purchasing 225 tonnes.

Seven of the top countries by gold reserves are also among the top 10 biggest economies.

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