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It’s like a homecoming for Bill Gates who has returned to the top of Forbes magazine’s annual list of the world’s richest people thanks to the rising stock markets that swelled the ranks of billionaires.
Gates has topped the list in 15 of the last 20 years. Microsoft Corp co-founder reclaimed the top spot with a net worth of $76 billion, but after a gap of four years. Bill Gates has toppled Mexico’s telecommunications mogul Carlos Slim Helu, who placed second at $72 billion.
Amancio Ortega, the Spanish founder of clothing conglomerate Inditex SA, ranked third at $64 billion.
Just over 10 percent were female, with 172 women compared with 138 a year earlier.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc heiress Christy Walton secured ninth position at $36.7 billion. France’s Liliane Bettencourt, of cosmetics company L’Oreal SA, was next among women at $34.5 billion, and ranked 11th overall.
Google Inc founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin ranked 17th and 19th, worth a respective $32.3 billion and $31.8 billion, while Amazon Inc’s Jeff Bezos was between them at $32 billion.
If there were winners, there were losers too. Forbes said the year’s biggest loser was Brazilian tycoon Eike Batista, whose net worth fell below $300 million from $10.6 billion due to the collapse of his oil and natural resources empire.
Interestingly, two-thirds of the world’s billionaires, or 1,080, were self-made. The United States had the most billionaires, with 492, followed by China at 152 and Russia at 111. Algeria, Lithuania, Tanzania and Uganda joined the list with one each.