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The 50 richest people in the world compared

  • How the 50 richest people in the world compare to the wealth of countries

    Most people cannot even imagine making a cool million in their lifetime, let alone sitting on billions of dollars. But for an elite portion of the world’s population, sprawling properties, fine art collections, and luxury yachts are just a way of life. We gathered data from Forbes’s World’s Billionaires list 2018 as well the Credit Suisse Research Institute’s Global Wealth Report 2017 to see how much money the world’s 50 richest people actually have. Next, to put things in perspective, the net worth of each person on the list was compared to the total wealth of different countries. Countries with the closest wealth to each billionaire were pulled to show how individual billionaires stack up against entire nations. Also included is the number of smaller countries that each person’s personal wealth eclipses.

    The billionaires on the list have a combined wealth of $1.96 trillion, a number closest to the wealth of Russia ($1.89 trillion) with $73 billion left over. This is greater than the combined wealth of 191 countries. How did these people make their fortunes? And how are they spending their enormous fortunes? Some of them are truly self-made, while the majority inherited their money. Generally speaking, the more humble the beginning, the more generous the billionaire. Read on to find out more.

  • #50. He Xiangjian

    Net worth: $20.1 billion

    Age: 76

    Source of wealth: home appliances

    Country of citizenship: China

    Wealth equal to: Bermuda ($19.9B) and Mayotte ($0.1B) with $100 million left over

    Wealthier than 89 countries.

    One of the most generous billionaires in China had a humble start. He Xiangjian had only completed primary school when he took a chance and started a modest plastic bottle cap business with less than $1,000. It would go on to become Midea Group, one of China’s largest and most lucrative appliance-makers. Last year, He donated more than $1 billion to charity.

  • #48. Theo Albrecht, Jr.

    Net worth: $20.2 billion

    Age: 67

    Source of wealth: Aldi, Trader Joe's

    Country of citizenship: Germany

    Wealth equal to: Bermuda ($19.9B) and Sao Tome and Principe ($0.3B)

    Wealthier than 89 countries.

    Albrecht got his start from his father, who opened a small corner store in Essen, Germany in 1913, and expanded to build an empire of stores, including discount supermarket chain Aldi. Theo Sr. was kidnapped in 1971, leading Theo Jr. to keep an extremely low profile. He has given only one interview during his career, to address a feud over the family fortune.

  • #48. Len Blavatnik

    Net worth: $20.2 billion

    Age: 61

    Source of wealth: diversified

    Country of citizenship: United States

    Wealth equal to: Bermuda ($19.9B) and Sao Tome and Principe ($0.3B)

    Wealthier than 89 countries.

    Blavatnik was born in Odessa, Ukraine, and migrated to the United States in 1978. He made his fortune selling his stake in a Russian oil company for $7 billion in 2013, then bought Warner Music Group and invested in tech heavyweights Spotify and Beats. He is known throwing exclusive parties on yacht every year at the Cannes Film Festival, contributes generously to education causes, and founded the New York Academy of Sciences Blavatnik Awards, which recognize the potential of young scientists.

  • #47. Thomas Peterffy

    Net worth: $20.3 billion

    Age: 74

    Source of wealth: discount brokerage

    Country of citizenship: United States

    Wealth equal to: Bermuda ($19.9B) and Micronesia ($0.4B)

    Wealthier than 89 countries.

    Thomas Peterffy arrived in the United States from Hungary when he was 21, and made his fortune as a digital trading pioneer. Peterffy recently donated money to open a world-class healthcare center, but only the wealthy need apply: the center has an annual fee of $25,000.

     

     

  • #46. Dieter Schwarz

    Net worth: $20.9 billion

    Age: 79

    Source of wealth: retail

    Country of citizenship: Germany

    Wealth equal to: Bermuda ($19.9B) and Vanuatu ($0.9B) with $100 million left over

    Wealthier than 89 countries.

    Dieter Schwarz is a German businessman, who inherited most of his fortune from his father, who founded the Schwarz Group in 1930. Today, the group owns the hypermarket chain Kaufland as well as the supermarket chain Lidl.

  • #45. Leonardo Del Vecchio

    Net worth: $21.2 billion

    Age: 83

    Source of wealth: eyeglasses

    Country of citizenship: Italy

    Wealth equal to: Namibia ($21.2B) 

    Wealthier than 90 countries.

    Leonardo Del Vecchio is an Italian businessman who founded eyewear giant Luxottica in 1961, at the age of 25. At 14, Del Vecchio took an apprenticeship at an eyewear parts factory before going to design school. You can likely thank Del Vecchio for any of the stylish eyewear in your collection: Luxottica now owns Sunglass Hut, LensCrafters, Ray-Ban, and Oakley.

  • #44. Paul Allen

    Net worth: $21.7 billion

    Age: 65

    Source of wealth: Microsoft, investments

    Country of citizenship: United States

    Wealth equal to: Tanzania ($21.5B) and Mayotte ($0.1B) with $100 million left over

    Wealthier than 91 countries.

    Paul Allen co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates after dropping out of college. He resigned after being diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease, and continued to pursue other business opportunities after his recovery. Allen now owns both the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers and the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. He is a renowned philanthropist, most famous for his interactive rock 'n' roll museum in Seattle, and the frequent loaning of his yacht for rescue missions and scientific explorations. 

  • #43. Yang Huiyan

    Net worth: $21.9 billion

    Age: 37

    Source of wealth: real estate

    Country of citizenship: China

    Wealth equal to: Laos ($21.8B) and Mayotte ($0.1B)

    Wealthier than 93 countries.

    Yang Huiyan became the richest woman in China at the age of 26, when her father transferred his fortune from real estate developer Country Garden Holdings to her. She is known for being elusive and mysterious, taking great care to keep her private life out of the limelight. Yang chairs the Bright Scholar Education Holdings, the largest operator of international and bilingual K-12 schools in China.

     


     

  • #42. Stefan Quandt

    Net worth: $22 billion

    Age: 52

    Source of wealth: BMW

    Country of citizenship: Germany

    Wealth equal to: Laos ($21.8B) and Mayotte ($0.1B) with $100 million left over

    Wealthier than 93 countries.

    Stefan Quandt, the son of Herbert Quandt—who saved BMW from bankruptcy in the 1960s—is now BMW’s largest single shareholder. He took the helm in 1997 from his mother, Johanna Quandt, who had a philanthropic streak.

     

  • #41. Serge Dassault

    Net worth: $22.6 billion

    Age: 93

    Source of wealth: diversified

    Country of citizenship: France

    Wealth equal to: Laos ($21.8B) and Tonga ($0.8B)

    Wealthier than 93 countries.

    French billionaire Serge Dassault, who died in 2018, was the son of Marcel Dassault, founder of Dassault Aviation. The company built propellers for aircraft used during World War I, and gradually rose to the top of the French aerospace engineering industry.






     

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