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Top - 12 February 2021

The 10 richest people on the planet



Ralph Fiennes


Rankings follow and resemble each other. The Top 10 richest people stay roughly the same. Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, however, steals first place from long-domineering billionaire Bill Gates.

Who are the 10 richest people in the world in 2020? The ranking is dominated by men and Americans.


Rankings follow and resemble each other. The Top 10 richest people stay roughly the same. Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, however, steals first place from long-domineering billionaire Bill Gates.


But how does Forbes establish its ranking? The first thing to know is that Forbes only calculates a portion of wealth. It’s impossible to go through every bank account or visit every real estate property. Besides, what about hidden accounts, yachts and other paintings? No, the Forbes ranking is based on a simple calculation: it’s the number of shares they own multiplied by the value of that share.


This is how old families who are very wealthy in terms of goods or property ignore this classification, or do not appear in the top places. In contrast, the Forbes ranking is dominated by the businessmen of the day. Because these are exclusively men in this ranking. 8 Americans, 1 French and 1 Spanish. Welcome to the club of 10.


To know the fortune of billionaires in real time, you must consult the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Yes, since early 2020, Jeff Bezos’s fortune has already risen by $ 80 billion. You must follow! Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and Space X, is even now on the podium.

10. 9. 8. The Walton’s: 54 billion each

C’est la famille la plus riche du monde. Elle détient la ligne de supermarchés américains Walmart. Leur fortune s’approche des 200 milliards de dollars et s’étend sur trois générations.


Pour vous donner une petite idée, chaque minute, la famille s’enrichit de 70.000 dollars, 4 millions par heure, 100 millions la journée…



7. Mark Zuckerberg: $ 62.3 billion

Mark Zuckerberg is the only 30-something in this ranking. He is also the first billionaire born of new technologies, but certainly not the last. Mark Zuckerberg is of course the co-founder in 2204 of Facebook, the most used social network in the world.


Very young, Mark Zuckerberg is a brilliant student. To join Harvard, he also achieves a score of 1590 out of 1600 on the SAT test. It was with his classmates that he one day decided to create what would later look like Facebook. The success is immediate. Most college students log on to it. Soon, the network will be extended to secondary schools and then to the general public.


But Facebook is quickly sued. Notably by the Winklevoss brothers, who had launched another social network a few months earlier: the Harvardconnection. Especially since they had associated Mark Zuckerberg with their project in 2003. As a computer scientist by training, he was supposed to finish the source code of the site and get it operational. But, for him, the site did not go far enough. He therefore decides in parallel to develop The Facebook. After a few procedural flaws, an amicable settlement was reached in 2008. Facebook pays Mark Zuckerberg’s ex-classmates over $ 65 million. In 2017, the two Winklevoos twin brothers were the first Bitcoin billionaires.


Mark Zucherberg, for his part, continues his vertiginous ascent. In 2010, he was the most influential person in the world according to Time magazine. Facebook went public in 2012. After a difficult start, Mark Zuckerberg is raising the bar, with the stock worth double its initial value.


A year earlier, Facebook bought Instagram. His appetite is now limitless: Facebook bought WhatsApp and its billion users in 2014, when the social network had already launched Facebook Messenger. Exchanges of messages, photos and full social network, Facebook dominates the market head and shoulders. And even allows itself to steal most of the functions of one of its latest competitors: Snapchat, obviously not far enough to protect its assets.


Two big caveats to this unprecedented economic rise. First, the Cambridge Analytica scandal, a company to which Facebook sold its user data. Then, fake news: Facebook is regularly the subject of political, economic, cultural or social debate. Because of its enormous influence, the social network is a central piece in the information mechanism. Its responsibility is engaged: between letting any information circulate or preventing its propagation. This is the whole point of the debate. A problem that was encountered in particular during the American elections in 2016.



6. Amancio Ortega: $ 55.1 billion

Another octogenarian in this ranking. Amancio Ortega is 82 years old and was born in Spain. He is the creator of the clothing brand Zara and founder of the international textile group Inditex. Son of a Spanish railway worker, he dropped out of school at the age of 13 and became a courier in a textile store.


His first business, he launched in 1963 by making dressing gowns. The first store opened in 1975. There are 5 four years later, and more than 5,500 today. In the bosom of his new empire, we find the brands Massimo Dutti, Tempe, Pull and Bear, or even Bershka.


If Ortega remains the majority shareholder of the group with 59.3% of the shares, he left his position as chairman in 2011. He now exercises power in the shadows, but it is in one of his two daughters and his son-in-law whom he entrusted his succession.


The company’s headquarters are in La Coruña (Spain). Zara is now deployed in 33 different countries. The concept is to sell items at very affordable, mid-range prices, while taking inspiration from the big houses of fashion. A kind of low cost plagiarism that got the company into some trouble.


That being said, Zara has over 200 designers who design some 30,000 models each year. This is one of the great strengths of the company: offering new collections almost every month to be on the cutting edge of fashion.



5. Larry Ellison: $ 59 billion

Larry Ellison is American and co-founded Oracle Corporation. It is an IT firm that offers database management systems and the popular Java programming language. Raised by his uncle and aunt, this computer scientist was born in the Bronx (73 years old). Father of two children who became film producers, Larry Ellison is one of those miracles that only the United States can offer.


CEO and then Chairman of the Oracle Board of Directors, he is the owner of the Indian Wells Masters tennis tournament. Larry is also engaged in transhumanism, an intellectual movement that believes that the man who will be 1,000 years old is already born. The human condition is no longer an obstacle for new technologies: death, suffering, aging, or even disability could only be a distant memory. Both fascinating and very dangerous.


4. Warren Buffett: $ 67.5 billion

Most of these billionaires are from the same generation. Warren Buffet, 87 spring, is no exception to the rule. Legend has it that he told a friend that if he wasn’t a millionaire at 30, he would jump out of a building in Omaha, his hometown. He has since been dubbed the “Oracle of Ohama” and is one of the richest men in the world, never leaving the Forbes podium since the 2000s.


He runs the massive investment firm Berkshire Hathaway: 400,000 employees worldwide. In its portfolio, shares of major brands such as Coca-Cola (8.3%), American Express (14.9%), Goldman Sachs (7.6%), or Kraft or Heinz. Yet the man has gone through all stages: he was a newspaper seller and grocer, before working for his father at 13 as a stock broker, and then a member of the United States Congress.


This friend of Bill Gates is today a renowned philanthropist. He donates most of his fortune to charity (including $ 37 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) and will bequeath only a tiny fraction of his fortune to his children. He is also one of the great defenders of a harmonization of the tax rate: not understanding why his secretary was more taxed than him, he wrote a column in 2011 in the New York Times to appeal to lawmakers to legislate in this area.


Warren Buffett is also not the type to distribute dividends to his shareholders and invests wisely. Everything is thought out and reflected. He was named the best investor of the 20th century by the consulting firm Carson Group. The bursting of the internet bubble in the early 2000s will not change that, he had sensed the wrong thing. The financial crisis initiated in 2007 will however make him lose his first place in favor of Bill Gates.


A historic Democrat, he supported Obama and then Hillary Clinton in the last presidential election in 2016.


3. Bernard Arnault: 76 milliards de dollars

Bernard Arnault is the richest European in the world. Born in Roubaix, France in 1949, he is the owner of the luxury group LVMH. This brand merges the two groups Moët Hennessy (Champagnes Moët & Chandon, Ruinart, Mercier, Canard-Duchêne and cognac Hennessy) and Louis Vuitton (Louis Vuitton, Givenvhy, Champagne Veuve Clicquot) which it acquired in 1987 following the crash of ‘October.


Three years earlier, the man who had taken over the family business from his father bought the Christian Dior brand. The operation is valued at 90 million French francs or 14 million euros, or the entire family fortune at the time.


As things progress, the LVMH group has become the world’s leading luxury group. Bernard Arnault, who makes acquisition after acquisition, multiplies the value of the group by 15, while turnover has increased by 500%. He owes his success to his way of managing the multinational: he leaves a great deal of decision-making power to the group’s brands which are often considered as houses with a family history. Then, the strongest brands of the group make it possible to finance those which are emerging or growing. This solidarity between the brands allows a harmonious whole.


The 90s and 2000s followed the same path: Arnault acquired, through his group, the clothing brands Kenzo and Berluti, but also the dailies La Tribune, then later the group Les Echos or Le Parisien. We can also mention a few great vintages (Cheval Blanc, Clos des Lambrays…) or the Gerlain perfume and Bvlgari jewelry. Bernard Arnault is not just a billionaire. He is considered one of the best business leaders in the world. It is also regularly listed in the Harvard Business Review.


However, several controversies litter his career. First when he applied for Belgian nationality in 2012. The newspaper Liberation does not hesitate to headline in “one”: “Casse-toi rich con! “In reference to” Casse-toi poor con “by Nicolas Sarkozy. Looking back, it turns out that this request had nothing to do with any way of limiting inheritance taxes, which are slightly lower in Belgium. No, it is more a question of avoiding the dislocation of the group in the event of death. In 2013, almost all of the group’s assets were transferred to Belgium under the “Protectinvest” foundation. The daily Liberation is punished: no more advertising of the group will appear until the end of the year: the loss is estimated at 150,000 euros.


Later in 2017, the disclosure of the Paradise Papers revealed that Bernard Arnault had placed assets (two yachts, a 4,300 square meter house, and investment funds) in six tax havens. A desire to optimize taxation as much as possible, “to the frontiers of legality,” writes the Journal Le Monde. There again, the newspaper would have been punished up to 600,000 euros, reveals the “Chained Duck”, which was subsequently denied by the LVMH group. If you go looking for trouble you’ll find it.



2. Bill Gates: $ 98 billion

At the peak of its value, the fortune of the boss of Microsoft reached 101 billion dollars, or 147 billion current. That was in 1999. But since then Microsoft has seen competitors come along, and the businessman has slowly turned into a patron.


In 2006, he decided to devote 95% of his fortune to a foundation that bears his name. Education, health, man is a philanthropist. But this donation is also a way of detaching oneself from the influence of the States since this money is tax-exempt. Bill Gates wants to be able to act alone, without state pressure. His foundation now has more budget than the World Health Organization.


But how does he manage to remain one of the richest men in the world? The native of Seattle, passed through Harvard, too, is simply smarter than the others. In 1990, alongside Microsoft, Bill Gates created a holding company in order to invest and insure his back. Little known to the general public, it remains very profitable, while the founder of Microsoft only holds 1.3% of his company’s shares. Cascade Investment has been in the business of reinvesting Microsoft’s cash since 1995.


It was in 2000 that he created the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which, in turn, would serve as a reservoir of liquidity for other investments. With these two new entities, Bill Gates will continue to build his fortune, but outside of Microsoft. He holds stakes in particular in Coca-Cola FEMSA, which is responsible for bottling the world soda giant, and a 5% stake in Berkshire Hathaway, the holding company of his friend Warren Buffett.



1. Jeff Bezos: $ 113 billion

Very young, Jeff Bezos and his mother are abandoned by his father. She then married a certain Miguel Bezos, a Cuban immigrant who gave his name to Jeff. Graduating in 1986 from the prestigious Princeton University, he gradually took an interest in what has obsessed him for years: “I have learned that web use is increasing by 2,300% per year. I had never seen or heard of something with such rapid growth, and the idea of ​​creating an online bookstore with millions of titles – something purely inconceivable in the physical world – really excited me ”, he tells Business Insider.


Amazon was born, named after the largest river on the planet. It’s 1994. Amazon is now the world’s largest online retailer, with annual sales of $ 74.4 billion (2013 figures). His group also owns companies like IMDb, Alexa Internet, and the Washington Post.


It’s not the crazy love between him and Donald Trump. The president accuses him of not promoting employment in the United States and even destroying some. Donald Trump has threatened Amazon with an antitrust investigation in an attempt to intimidate Bezos and change the editorial line of the Washington Post, which is not really favorable to the American president. Between the two men, war is declared.


Jeff Bezos like Larry Ellison subscribes to transhumanism and is part of the libertarian current. Man is obsessed with the long term. He has invested $ 42 million in a mechanical clock that will give exact time for the next ten thousand years. He also founded the Blue Origin company in 2000, the goal of which is to send tourists into space.