2017 has been an extremely good year for at least several men across the globe who became wealthier than they already were in the few past years, and they have the sectors of technology, luxury goods, e-commerce and social media to thank.
The world’s richest people have had their fortunes increase by at least $1tn, an equivalent of £745bn – that is more than four times their gains last year. The noticeable increase in their wealth is the result of a huge increase in the value of global stock markets in 2017, according to the Independent.
The world’s 500 richest people, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires index, have had their wealth increase by 23%, making the total value of their fortunes combined nearly $5.3tn.
“The increase in these men’s fortunes comes as billions of poorer people across the world have seen their wealth either standstill or decline. The gap between the very rich and everyone else has widened to the biggest it has been in a century and advisers to the super-rich are warning them of a “strike back” from the squeezed majority,” according to The Guardian.
According to the New York Times, just eight of the richest people on the planet own a total wealth worth as much as the wealth owned by half the human race combined. This means that the ‘assets of the super-rich in the world match the assets of the 3.6 billion people in the poorer half of mankind.’
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Blue Origin and the CEO of Amazon.com which he founded in 1994, was ranked the world’s richest man in 2017 with a total net worth of $100bn, according to the Independent. His fortune increased by over $34.2bn; taking his net worth to $99.6bn, and according to The Guardian, in just one day in October, Bezos’ fortune increased by $10.3bn when Amazon’s shares hiked, and the profits achieved by the company were much higher than analysts had expected.
Bezos entirely owns space exploration company Blue Origin, as well as the Washington Post newspaper, which he purchased for $250m in 2013.
According to Newsweek, Bezos has added Whole Foods chain to his fortune. He also announced that Amazon would add a second headquarter in 2018 that would provide about 50,000 new jobs.
Coming second on the world’s richest list is Microsoft owner Bill Gates, as Bezo’s fortune exceeds Gates’ by $8.3bn. The wealth of Bill Gates in 2017 was estimated to be worth a net of $91.9bn with an increase of nearly $5m.
The third richest man in the world, according to Bloomberg index, is Warren Buffett. His total wealth is estimated to be a total of $85.5bn, and in 2017 specifically, his wealth grew by $12.3bn, according to Bloomberg. This makes the first three places on the list of the world’s richest men firmly in the grip of American men. Buffett is the owner of American multinational conglomerate company, Berkshire Hathaway, headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, United States.
The fourth richest man in 2017 was Amancio Ortega, with a total net worth of $75.5bn. Ortega is a Spanish tycoon best known for co-founding Inditex, the parent company of Zara and Massimo Dutti. He was able to increase his fortune by $3.6bn in 2017.
In the fifth place is preserved for Mark Zuckerberg, owner and founder of Facebook, with a total net worth $73.2bn. Zuckerberg has been able to grow his net worth by $23.3bn in 2017, the fourth largest increase during 2017, with Bezos’ being the biggest increase.
Notwithstanding this, the wealth of other businessmen has significantly decreased in 2017. The list included French telecommunication billionaire Patrick Drahi whose wealth fell from $4.1bn to $6.3bn, a 39% drop.
Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, the richest person in Saudi Arabia, has seen his wealth drop from $1.9bn to $17.8bn after he was detained in the “crackdown” against corruption led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, where he targeted royals, government officials, and business leaders.
Noteworthy, the 58 of the 500 billionaires who saw their fortunes shrink in 2017, lost a combined amount of $46bn, according to Bloomberg.