23 October 2020

Visualizing the Composition of Wealth, from the Middle Class to the Top 1%

In the last year, the wealth controlled by the world’s top 10 billionaires has jumped by over $76B.

Even in the teeth of jittery markets, many of the world’s richest people have seen their wealth surge to new heights as COVID-19 unfolds.

Today’s infographic draws data from Forbes Billionaire’s List and shows a broad cross-section of the world’s billionaires – highlighting their stratospheric wealth in the current economic climate.

Wealth in Astonishing Circumstances

The below table shows the fortunes of the world’s 10 richest people, comparing the numbers from March 5, 2019 to the most recent data from April 22, 2020.

Rank Name Net Worth 2020* Net Worth 2019* Change 2019-2020
#1 Jeff Bezos $145B $131B +$14.1B
#2 Bill Gates $104B $97B +$7.1B
#3 Bernard Arnault & Family $92B $76B +$15.5B
#4 Warren Buffett $73B $83B -$9.1B
#5 Mark Zuckerberg $69B $62B +$6.5B
#6 Larry Ellison $66B $63B +$3.4B
#7 Steve Ballmer $63B $41B +$21.3B
#8 Amancio Ortega $61B $63B -$2.2B
#9 Larry Page $58B $51B +$7.6B
#10 Jim Walton $57B $45B +$12.0B
Total Change +$76.2B

Source: Forbes – *As of April 22, 2020 **As of March 5, 2019

Gaining the highest across the top 10 is former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who saw his fortune rise over $21 billion since March 2019.

Facing the steepest losses belong to investing luminary Warren Buffett, whose net worth has dropped over $9 billion over the past year. At year-end 2019 Buffett was a 11% shareholder in Delta Airlines. In April, Buffett sold 13 million shares in the airline.

Meanwhile, Mark Zuckerberg’s fortune is holding steady. Amazingly, the Facebook founder still remains one of the world’s youngest billionaires (ranking 22nd out of 2,095) despite first joining the billionaire club a dozen years ago.

Newcomers to the List

As a new decade begins, who are among the most newly-minted billionaires?

Eric Yuan, CEO of Zoom has climbed in the ranks as online video communication demand soars. Zoom went public in April 2019 at a stunning $9.2 billion IPO valuation. As of April 24, 2020, Zoom was valued at over $44.3 billion.

Rank Name Net Worth Source of Wealth
#1 Eric Yuan $7.8B Zoom
#2 Anthony von Mandl $3.9B Mark Anthony Brands
#3 Larry Xiangdong Chen $3.6B GSX Techedu
#4 Dmitry Bukhman $3.1B Playrix
#5 Igor Bukhman $3.1B Playrix
#6 Sun Huaiqing $3.0B Guangdong Marubi Biotechnology
#7 Forrest Li $2.4B Sea Group
#8 Byju Raveendran $1.7B Byju’s
#9 Jitse Groen $1.5B Takeaway.com
#10 Qian Ying $1.5B Muyuan Foods

*As of April 22, 2020

Similarly, Netherland’s Jitse Groen has witnessed his food-delivery company Takeaway.com expand extensively. Takeaway.com currently operates in 11 countries across Europe and received regulatory approval to complete a $7.6 billion merger with JustEat in April.

Forrest Li who runs Sea, an online-gaming and e-commerce company, has similarly joined the ranks. Tencent and private equity firm General Atlantic are among its major stakeholders.

The COVID-19 Response

As the global economy contends with a loss of confidence and job losses, some of the world’s richest people are stepping up to the plate.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is donating roughly 25% of his net worth to COVID-19 in the form of Square stock, valued at $1B.

His donation, which was placed in a donor-advised fund called Start Small LLC, is more than four times higher than any other billionaire. That said, after the pandemic, Dorsey also stated that this money may also go towards girl’s health and education, as well as universal basic income (UBI).

Rank Name COVID-19-Related Donation % of Net Worth
#1 Jack Dorsey $1B 25.6%
#2 Bill & Melinda Gates $255M 0.2%
#3 Azim Premji $132M 2.2%
#4 Andrew Forrest $100M+ 1.2%+
#5 Jeff Bezos $100M 0.1%
#6 Michael Dell $100M 0.4%
#7 Lynn Schusterman, Stacy Schusterman $70M 2.1%
#8 Amancio Ortega $68M 0.1%
#9 Nicky Oppenheimer $54.5M 0.7%
#10 Johann Rupert $54.5M 1.1%

*As of April 15, 2020

Overall, 77 of the world’s billionaires have made public contributions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, just a fraction of the world’s ultra-rich.

As COVID-19 continues to spread globally, will the world’s billionaires still accumulate wealth at greater speeds, or will a different picture emerge as unconventional policies around the world become increasingly commonplace?

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