- The world’s 500 richest people added $US1.2 trillion to their collective net worths in 2019, according to Bloomberg.
- Increased demand for luxury goods in China grew the fortunes of Francois Pinault, Bernard Arnault, and Francoise Bettencourt Meyers.
- In the tech sector, Microsoft‘s stock surge made two of the software developer’s largest shareholders over $US10 billion apiece in 2019.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The world’s 500 richest people grew their collective net worths 25% in 2019 – but some billionaires benefitted more than others.
Billionaires who made their fortunes from tech and luxury goods led the pack. Increased demand for luxury goods in China grew the fortunes of Francois Pinault, Bernard Arnault, and Francoise Bettencourt Meyers. Microsoft’s stock surge made two of the software developer’s largest shareholders over $US10 billion each in 2019. Facebook also saw massive growth in 2019, despite a never ending stream of negative headlines about its handling of political advertising and hate speech.
Keep reading to learn which billionaires made the most money in 2019.
12. Francois Pinault
Net worth: $US42.0 billion
2019 gain: $US12.08 billion
Like other French luxury magnates, Francois Pinault saw his net worth grow substantially in 2019 amid increasing Chinese demand for luxury goods. Pinault’s fortune stems from his family’s 41% stake in Gucci and Yves St. Laurent owner Kering, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
11. Francoise Bettencourt Meyers
Net worth: $US59.3 billion
2019 gain: $US13.1 billion
Francoise Bettencourt Meyers became the richest woman in the world when she inherited a third of L’Oréal, the world’s largest cosmetics company, after her mother died in September 2017, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Shares of L’Oréal are up 30.8% in 2019 so far, Markets Insider data shows.
10. Sergey Brin
Net worth: $US63.3 billion
2019 gain: $US13.4 billion
Google cofounder Sergey Brin may have stepped down from his role as Alphabet’s president, but his net worth still benefitted from the company’s rising share price in 2019.
9. Larry Page
Net worth: $US65.2 billion
2019 gain: $US14.0 billion
The former CEO of Alphabet and cofounder of Google is the world’s 10th richest person with a net worth of $US65.2 billion, Bloomberg estimates.
8. Mukesh Ambani
Net worth: $US59.5 billion
2019 gain: $US15.2 billion
Business tycoon Mukesh Ambani is India’s richest man and the patriarch of Asia’s richest family, Business Insider’s Katie Warren previously reported. Ambani’s stake in oil-to-telecom conglomerate Reliance Industries helped him add over $US15 billion to his net worth in 2019, while more than half of India’s richest people took hits to their net worth during the same time period.
7. Amancio Ortega
Net worth: $US76.6 billion
2019 gain: $US17.9 billion
Amancio Ortega built his multibillion-dollar fortune running retail conglomerate Inditex, Zara’s parent company, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Inditex saw record sales in the first half of 2019, up 7% from the same period last year,Markets Insider previously reported.
6. Steve Ballmer
Net worth: $US58.5 billion
2019 gain: $US19.9 billion
Former Microsoft CEO and LA Clippers owner Steve Ballmer made nearly $US20 billion in 2019, as the software giant increased its dividend, launched a $US40 billion share-buyback program, and saw its share price hit record highs as its cloud computing business grows.
5. Bill Gates
Net worth: $US113 billion
2019 gain: $US23.1 billion
Bill Gates also benefitted from Microsoft’s stock surge, the Bloomberg Billionaires Index shows. Gates even briefly dethroned Jeff Bezos as the world’s richest man, Business Insider previously reported.
4. Mark Zuckerberg
Net worth: $US79.4 billion
2019 gain: $US27.4 billion
Facebook spent much of 2019 battling negative headlines about its political advertising, poor monitoring of hate speech, and market dominance, but that didn’t stop the social network from making money. The value of Facebook shares jumped 45% in 2019 – and as the company’s largest shareholder, Mark Zuckerberg was the biggest beneficiary, according to Markets Insider.
3. MacKenzie Bezos
Net worth: $US37.5 billion
2019 gain: $US37.5 billion
MacKenzie Bezos became one of the richest women in the world following her divorce from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in July. MacKenzie announced in a Twitter statement that she’d retained 25% of the former couple’s Amazon shares, while Jeff will keep 75% along with voting control of the shares she now holds.
2. Bernard Arnault
Net worth: $US106 billion
2019 gain: $US37.7 billion
In March, the French billionaire overtook Warren Buffett to become the third-richest person in the world, Bloomberg reported. A few months later, he surpassed Bill Gates to become the world’s second-richest person for a brief period before dropping back to third. And in October, Arnault made $US5.1 billion within 48 hours after a surge in share prices of his luxury conglomerate LVMH. Arnault even spent a few hours as the world’s richest person on December 16, Forbes reported.
1. Julia Flesher Koch
Net worth: $US62.1 billion
2019 gain: $US62.1 billion
Julia Flesher Koch took the No. 9 spot on Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index that once belonged to her husband, conservative megadonor David Koch, following his death in August. The stake in industrial giant Koch Industries she and her three children inherited from her husband gives her a net worth of $US62.1 billion, Bloomberg estimates.