“Even the wealthiest are not immune to economic forces and weak stock markets,” stated the Forbes magazine which released its ‘Billionaires - Richest People in the World’ annual list on Tuesday.
By their latest count, there are 2,153 billionaires, 55 fewer than a year ago. Of those, a record 994, or 46%, are poorer (relatively speaking) than they were last year. In total, the ultra-rich are worth USD8.7 trillion, down USD400 billion from 2018.
According to the list announced, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos continues to grab the title of the world's richest man, with a net worth of USD131 billion, ahead of Bill Gates (USD96.5 billion) and Warren Buffett (USD82.5 billion). Bezos' wealth reportedly swelled by USD19 billion in the past one year.
Meanwhile, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg dropped three spots to 8th rank on the Forbes list and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg rose by two.
Singaporeans took 22 spots with real estate tycoon Robert and Philip Ng coming up tops among their countrymen for the 10th year running.
The sons of the late tycoon Ng Teng Fong, who control Far East Organization, Singapore's largest private landlord and property developer, are joint 112th on the Forbes list, with a combined US$12 billion (S$16.3 billion) fortune, said the business magazine.
Second among the Richie rich Singaporeans is painting tycoon Goh Cheng Liang, ranked No. 203, with a net wealth of USD7.2 billion.
US President Donald Trump rose from the 766th-richest person in the world to the 715th-richest, even though his fortune remained flat at USD3.1 billion.
The richest newcomer is Colin Huang, the founder of Chinese discount web retailer Pinduoduo, which went public in the U.S. in July. Other notable new entrants include Spotify’s Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon; Juul Labs' James Monsees and Adam Bowen, Kind Bar’s Daniel Lubetzky.
Kylie Jenner, the founder of Kylie Cosmetics, is also the youngest billionaire on Earth, displacing Norwegian heiresses Alexandra Andresen, 22, and her sister Katharina, 23, who had been the youngest billionaires on the Forbes list for three consecutive years and are now second and third youngest.
Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani has jumped six places to 13th with a net worth of USD50 billion. He is also way ahead of the other 105 billionaires from India on the Forbes list. Wipro Chairman Azim Premji ranked 36th with a net worth of USD22.6 billion, followed by HCL's co-founder Shiv Nadar (82nd rank) and ArcelorMittal Chairman and CEO Lakshmi Mittal (91st rank).
With this, Mukesh Ambani has overtaken Alibaba’s Jack Ma who ranked 21 and Tesla’s Elon Musk at 40th.
Several more Indians find place on the 2019 rankings, including Aditya Birla Group Chairman Kumar Birla (122), Chairman and founder of the Adani Group Gautam Adani (167), Bharti Airtel head Sunil Mittal (244), co-founder of consumer goods giant Patanjali Ayurveda Acharya Balkrishna (365), Piramal Entreprises Chair Ajay Piramal (436), Biocon founder Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw (617), Infosys co-founder N R Narayana Murthy (962) and Reliance Group Chairman Anil Ambani (1349).
Safra Catz, co-CEO of Oracle, is now one of only 61 self-made female billionaires in the world.
Altogether 11% of last year’s list members, or 247 people, dropped out of the ranks, the most since 2009 at the height of the global financial crisis.