According to Forbes Magazine’s recently released 2023 World’s Billionaires List, approximately half of all billionaires have experienced a decline in their wealth compared to the previous year. This decrease in net worth is attributed to various factors, including a decline in stock values, setbacks for prominent startups, and increasing interest rates, resulting in a challenging year for the world’s wealthiest individuals.
The latest ranking identifies a total of 2,640 billionaires globally, a slight decrease from 2,668 last year. Collectively, these billionaires now possess a combined wealth of $12.2 trillion, which is $500 billion less than the $12.7 trillion reported in March 2022.
Elon Musk, who held the top position last year, has now been overtaken and occupies the second spot due to his $43 billion acquisition of Twitter, which negatively impacted Tesla shares. Jeff Bezos, who held the title of the world’s richest person for four consecutive years, currently ranks third overall but claims the top spot among the world’s richest individuals in the technology sector.
In a notable shift, Bernard Arnault, the non-tech entrepreneur leading the luxury goods giant LVMH, has emerged as the world’s richest person, marking the first time a French citizen has attained this position. However, the United States maintains its dominance in terms of the highest number of billionaires, with 735 individuals on the list, collectively possessing a wealth of $4.5 trillion.
1. Jeff Bezos
- Worth: $114 billion
After establishing the e-commerce powerhouse Amazon in 1994 from his humble Seattle garage, Bezos experienced a decline in his rankings on the Forbes list. In 2021, he slipped from the top spot to second place, and in 2022, he further dropped to third place. Bezos made a significant transition in late 2021 by stepping down as Amazon’s CEO and assuming the role of executive chairman. Currently, he holds a stake of just under 10 percent in the company. In a 2022 interview, Bezos expressed his intention to donate the majority of his wealth during his lifetime, although he did not provide specific details regarding his philanthropic plans.
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2. Larry Ellison
As the chairman, chief technology officer, and co-founder of software titan Oracle, Ellison holds approximately a 35 percent ownership stake in the company. Oracle’s expansion has been fueled, in part, by strategic acquisitions of software firms, including the noteworthy acquisition of electronic health records company Cerner for a staggering $28.3 billion, making it the largest technology industry deal of 2021. After leading Oracle for an impressive 37 years, Ellison stepped down from the position of CEO in 2014, leaving a remarkable legacy behind.
- Worth: $107 billion
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3. Bill Gates
- Worth: $104 billion
Having co-founded and served as the CEO of the renowned software behemoth Microsoft, Gates enjoyed a remarkable 18-year reign as the world’s wealthiest individual before being surpassed in 2018. Leveraging his wealth amassed from Microsoft, Gates diversified his holdings by investing in various ventures, particularly zero-carbon energy technology developers.
Gates has garnered recognition for his extensive philanthropic endeavors, as evidenced by his staggering contributions to the Gates Foundation, exceeding $59 billion thus far. In July 2022, he made a significant announcement of a $20 billion gift. It is worth noting that the majority of his early philanthropic contributions consisted of donations in the form of Microsoft stock.
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4. Steve Ballmer
- Worth: $80.7 billion
As the CEO of the renowned tech powerhouse Microsoft from 2000 to 2014, Ballmer embarked on an impressive journey within the company, having joined as its 30th employee in 1980. Following his retirement from Microsoft, Ballmer made headlines in the same year by acquiring the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers for a staggering $2 billion. Demonstrating his commitment to philanthropy, Ballmer has allocated over $2 billion to a donor-advised fund since 2014, with a particular emphasis on promoting economic mobility.
In 2022, together with his wife Connie, Ballmer exhibited their philanthropic spirit by donating approximately $425 million to the University of Oregon. This generous contribution was intended to establish an institute that addresses the behavioral and mental health needs of children in the state, emphasizing their well-being and development.
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5. Larry Page
- Worth: $79.2 billion
Having co-founded Google alongside Sergey Brin in 1998 during their time as Ph.D. students at Stanford, Page played a pivotal role in shaping the company’s success. While he stepped down as the CEO of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, in December 2019, Page maintains his position as a board member and retains significant control as a major shareholder.
Page’s notable contribution to Google includes the invention of the PageRank algorithm, which serves as the backbone of the company’s widely used search engine. Beyond his involvement with Google, Page has shown a keen interest in space exploration, being a founding investor in Planetary Resources, a company focused on this field. Moreover, he has extended his support to innovative ventures like Kitty Hawk and Opener, both of which are dedicated to the development of flying car technology.
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6. Sergey Brin
- Worth: $76 billion
In collaboration with Larry Page, Brin played a pivotal role in the co-founding of the renowned technology giant Google back in 1998. While he stepped down as the president of Alphabet, the parent company of Google, in December 2019, Brin continues to hold significant influence as a controlling shareholder and remains an esteemed member of the company’s board.
Notably, Brin has gained attention for his involvement in funding a cutting-edge airship project, highlighting his interest in advancing high-tech innovations. This demonstrates his commitment to exploring and supporting visionary endeavors beyond his contributions to the world of technology.
📚 Learn more: Who is Sergey Brin
7. Mark Zuckerberg
- Worth: $64.4
At the young age of 19, Facebook CEO Zuckerberg embarked on his journey to establish the social media giant while studying at Harvard University in 2004. Initially conceived as a platform for students to connect names with photos of their classmates, Facebook rapidly gained traction and transformed into a global phenomenon.
In May 2012, Zuckerberg took the momentous step of making the company publicly traded, and he currently holds approximately 13 percent of the company’s stock.
In December 2015, Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, made a remarkable commitment to philanthropy by pledging to donate 99 percent of their Facebook stake throughout their lifetimes. This altruistic act demonstrates their dedication to making a substantial positive impact by leveraging their resources for the greater good.
📚 Learn more: Who is Mark Zuckerberg
8. Michael Dell
- Worth: $50.1 billion
Renowned for his pioneering venture, Michael Dell established the early PC company, Dell, back in 1984 while residing in his dorm room at the University of Texas, Austin. Presently, he holds the esteemed positions of chairman and CEO at Dell Technologies, a result of the 2016 merger between Dell and the data storage system giant, EMC.
Dell’s wealth is multifaceted, with a significant portion attributed to his private investment firm, MSD Capital. Through this venture, Dell has made strategic investments in various industries, including hotels, and has shown a particular interest in liquid corporate credit.
Demonstrating his commitment to philanthropy, Dell made a remarkable contribution to his foundation in 2017, donating a staggering $1 billion. This foundation focuses on addressing child poverty, highlighting Dell’s dedication to leveraging his resources to make a positive impact in society.
📚 Learn more: Who is Michael Dell
9. Zhang Yiming
- Worth: $45 billion
Yiming, the primary founder of the Chinese tech behemoth ByteDance, has gained significant recognition for his instrumental role in creating the widely popular social media platform TikTok, boasting over 1 billion users worldwide. In November 2021, Yiming made the decision to step down as chairman of ByteDance, following his resignation as CEO in May of the same year. It is widely reported that his departure was influenced by pressure exerted by the Chinese government.
Yiming’s notable achievements in the tech industry were acknowledged when he was featured on the esteemed Forbes China 30 Under 30 List in 2013, further solidifying his reputation as a prominent figure in the entrepreneurial landscape.
📚 Learn more: Who is Zhang Yiming
10. Ma Huateng
- Worth: $35.3 billion
Pony Ma, also recognized as Huateng, serves as the chairman of Tencent Holdings, a prominent Chinese Internet powerhouse. Tencent’s widely embraced social messaging application, WeChat, boasts an impressive user base of 1.3 billion individuals. With its extensive reach and influence, Tencent has established itself as one of the world’s largest video game publishers, including owning a stake in the renowned U.S. video game company, Epic Games.
📚 Learn more: Who is Ma Huateng
In conclusion, the technology industry has witnessed remarkable achievements and significant shifts in power among its prominent figures. Visionary individuals like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bernard Arnault, and Bill Gates have left an indelible mark through their groundbreaking companies, philanthropic endeavors, and innovations that have shaped our modern world.
The evolution of these tech giants, such as Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Tencent, has not only transformed industries but also impacted society at large. These companies have not only revolutionized the way we communicate, search for information, and connect with others but have also paved the way for advancements in artificial intelligence, space exploration, and sustainable energy.
Moreover, the commitment to philanthropy demonstrated by these tech moguls, including substantial donations and dedicated foundations, showcases their determination to address pressing global challenges, promote social well-being, and empower communities.
As technology continues to evolve at an unprecedented pace, it is the entrepreneurial spirit, visionary leadership, and dedication to societal impact exhibited by these tech leaders that shape the trajectory of our digital future.
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