In 2023, the wealth disparity across the globe remains striking. A few individuals—benefitting from a range of circumstances including inheritance, industry dominance, and entrepreneurial ventures—have accrued wealth of enormous proportions. This article looks at the 20 richest people worldwide, each significantly influencing the economic landscape.
These people, hailing from diverse sectors such as technology, retail, and investments, have amassed fortunes that starkly contrast the economic reality most people face. Some are self-made billionaires, while others owe their wealth to inheritance. Their influence extends far beyond their bank accounts, affecting societies and economies globally.
Michael Dell is the 58-year-old founder and CEO of Dell Technologies, one of the world's largest technology infrastructure companies. He initiated his eponymous company in his college dorm room in 1984 with $1,000 in capital. Dell's net worth, as of 2023, is estimated at $59.7 billion, making him one of the richest people in the technology sector.
Alice Walton, daughter of the late Walmart founder Sam Walton, is the richest woman in the Walton family. The 73-year-old's wealth primarily comes from her stake in the retail giant. Unlike her brothers, Alice focused on curating art rather than working for Walmart.
Her impressive collection has led to the creation of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. As of 2023, her net worth stands at $62.3 billion.
Zhong Shanshan, a Chinese billionaire entrepreneur, is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Nongfu Spring, a popular bottled water company in China. He also owns a significant stake in Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy.
His sudden leap in wealth came after the initial public offerings of his two companies. With an estimated net worth of $62.5 billion, he is one of the richest people in China in 2023.
Rob Walton is the eldest son of Walmart founder Sam Walton. Following his father's death in 1992, he served as the Chairman of Walmart until 2015. Despite keeping a relatively low public profile, Rob Walton's wealth has steadily accumulated thanks to his stake in the global retail giant.
As of 2023, his net worth is estimated at $63.2 billion.
Jim Walton, another one of Sam Walton's sons, is an heir to the Walmart fortune. He is the youngest son and has spent his career helping to oversee the family's vast array of holdings. As of 2023, Jim's net worth is $64.5 billion, making him one of the richest individuals in the world.
As the granddaughter of L'Oreal's founder Eugene Schueller, Francoise Bettencourt Meyers and her family have amassed an impressive fortune. Bettencourt Meyers, now the richest woman in the world, took control of L'Oreal's holding company after her mother Liliane Bettencourt's death in 2017.
In 2023, Francoise's net worth, combined with that of her family, is approximately $88.9 billion.
Amancio Ortega created Zara clothing and accessories shops, and the chain has made him the wealthiest retailer in the world. The 83-year-old Spaniard founded the Inditex fashion group, which operates over 7,200 stores in 93 markets around the globe.
Ortega's wealth is estimated to be $89.3 billion, which makes him the second-wealthiest person in Europe.
Mukesh Ambani is an Indian business magnate. He is the chairman, managing director, and largest shareholder of Reliance Industries Limited. Ambani’s late father, Dhirubhai, founded Reliance Industries as a small textile manufacturer in 1966. Now the oil and gas giant is one of India’s most valuable companies by its market value. Today, Ambani is worth $89.4 billion.
Michael Bloomberg, a well-known businessman and former Mayor of New York City, co-founded the financial information and media company Bloomberg LP in 1981. As of 2023, Bloomberg has a net worth of $94.5 billion. His wealth has helped fund his political ambitions and philanthropic endeavors, including his eponymous philanthropic foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies.
Sergey Brin, an American computer scientist and co-founder of Google with Larry Page, serves as the President of Alphabet Inc., Google's parent company. Born in Russia, Brin migrated to the United States at a young age. His work in establishing Google has significantly shaped the Internet era. As of 2023, Brin's net worth is estimated to be $95.9 billion.
Lawrence Edward Page is an American computer scientist and Internet entrepreneur. He is one of the co-founders of Google, along with business partner Sergey Brin. Page is the chief executive officer of Alphabet Inc, Google’s parent company. As of 2019, he is worth around $100.9 billion.
Carlos Slim Helu is a 79-year-old Mexican who established Grupo Carso, a conglomerate with holdings that include education, healthcare, industrial manufacturing, transportation, real estate, media, energy, hospitality, entertainment, high-technology, retail, sports, and financial services. Slim is worth some $101.4 billion, and his net worth is about six percent of Mexico's gross domestic product. As Honorary Chairman of America Movil, his vast holdings account for 40% of the Mexican Stock Exchange listings.
At 35, Mark Elliott Zuckerberg is the youngest person on this list with $101.8 billion in his bank account. While attending Harvard in 2004, he created Facebook, the online site originally intended to be used only by college students. Within eight years the site had one billion users. Zuckerberg took Facebook public in 2012 while he retained the majority of stock.
When the stock price fell 19 percent one day in 2018, it cost Zuckerberg an estimated $15 billion.
Steve Ballmer, the high-energy former CEO of Microsoft, has seen his fortune surge due to the rising value of his 4% stake in the technology giant. Post-Microsoft, Ballmer purchased the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers in 2014. Ballmer's energetic and enthusiastic leadership style marked his tenure at Microsoft, contributing significantly to its growth.
As of 2023, Ballmer's net worth stands at $102.5 billion.
Alternately called the "Wizard," the "Oracle" or the "Sage" of Omaha, Warren Edward Buffett has been the chairman and largest shareholder of Berkshire Hathaway since 1970. At 89 years of age, Buffet is worth $112.5 billion due to his successful investing. His investment strategy is called "value investing" and that, along with his frugal lifestyle, has propelled him to immense wealth.
Buffet has pledged to give away 99 percent of his fortune to charitable causes. He started The Giving Pledge in 2009, a foundation where billionaires agree to give away at least half of their fortunes to philanthropic causes.
In 1975 William Henry Gates, 64, along with Paul Allen, launched a company called Microsoft, which would become the world's largest and most valued PC software provider. Bill Gates was the company's main shareholder until 2014 when he stepped away from company leadership to fund the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which carries on charitable activities around the world.
At various times since 1987, when he first made the Forbes list of wealthiest people, Gates has been cited as being the richest man in the world. As of November 16 of 2019, Bill Gates beat Jeff Bezos as the world's richest man and is estimated to be worth $117.9 billion today.
Lawrence Joseph Ellison, 75, founded what was to become Oracle in 1977 despite not earning a college degree. Today he is worth around $147.5 billion. Oracle is the main database vendor for firms with mid- to low-range systems. Ellison serves as executive chairman and chief technology officer of the company.
56-year old Jeff Preston Bezos created a modest company in 1994 called Amazon to sell books online that has grown into the world's largest online retailer. Amazon is the world's largest internet sales company and also is the largest provider of cloud infrastructure services on the planet. As of November 16 of 2019, Bezos' net worth has lost billions following Amazon's underperformance in quarter three and around $35 billion more to his now ex-wife, Mackenzie Bezos. As of today, Bezos's net worth is $151.9 billion.
Bernard Jean Étienne Arnault is the 69-year old French business magnate who, as chairman of the world's largest luxury goods company, has accumulated more than $225.6 billion. Arnault is the chairman and CEO of LVMH, as well as being a shrewd investor in other enterprises. Arnault is the richest person in France and an avid art collector.
Elon Musk, a visionary entrepreneur, is the CEO and lead designer of SpaceX, CEO and product architect of Tesla Inc., and also involved in various other high-tech ventures. Born in South Africa, Musk moved to the United States to attend university and later became a U.S. citizen. His work has revolutionized several industries, from electric vehicles to space travel.
In 2023, Musk has a staggering net worth of $230.2 billion, placing him among the richest individuals globally.