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Jeff Bezos tops Forbes world’s richest list with US$120 billion fortune as Trump’s wealth falls

Tencent CEO Ma Huateng and Alibaba founder Jack Ma crack list of top 20 richest persons in the world

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 March, 2018, 3:21am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 March, 2018, 3:41am

Amazon chief Jeff Bezos is now the world’s richest person, having snatched the top spot from Microsoft founder Bill Gates who slips to second place, according to Forbes Magazine’s annual billionaires list published on Tuesday.

Thanks to a 59 per cent rise in Amazon shares over the past 12 months, Bezos almost doubled his fortune, taking it to US$120 billion, way ahead of Gates’s US$90 billion – the biggest gap ever between the number one and two spots, Forbes said.

US President Donald Trump’s ranking on the list fell to 766th place from 544th in the last edition, his wealth now being estimated at US$3.1 billion, US$400 million less than a year ago.

Legendary investor Warren Buffett held on to his number three ranking, followed by French industrialist Bernard Arnault, who jumped to fourth-richest person from his previous number 11 spot, mostly thanks to euro strength against the dollar, the magazine said.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg was fifth on the list.

Two Chinese billionaires rose to be among the 20 richest people in the world. Ma Huateng, CEO of Chinese internet giant Tencent who is the richest person in Asia and number 17 in the world, and Alibaba founder Jack Ma. Alibaba is the publisher of The South China Morning Post.

There are now a record 2,208 billionaires in the world, Forbes counted, and their combined worth is US$9.1 trillion, up 18 per cent from last year.

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The US has the most billionaires (585), followed by mainland China (373).

Forbes’ list contains 259 newcomers, including the first-ever cryptocurrency billionaires.

Falling fortunes or political headwinds, meanwhile, pushed 121 people out of the illustrious list, including all 10 Saudi Arabians, the magazine said.