The gap between the really rich and the merely rich continues to widen, as fortunes soar to new heights. A record 2,208 billionaires made Forbes’ 32 annual ranking of the world’s billionaires. Altogether they are worth a record $9.1 trillion, up 18% from a year ago. The 20 richest people on the planet are worth a staggering $1.2 trillion, a sum roughly equivalent to the annual economic output of Mexico. In aggregate, they may represent less than 1% of total billionaires but their riches amount to 13% of the total fortune of all billionaires worldwide.
Meet the ten.
# 10 Larry Ellison – $47.4 Billion
Larry Ellison cofounded software firm Oracle in 1977 to tap into the growing need for customer relationship management databases.
He gave up the Oracle CEO role in 2014 but still serves as chairman of the board and chief technology officer.
As part of Oracle's push into cloud computing, it acquired cloud-software firm Netsuite for $9.3 billion in 2016.
Oracle moved into hardware with its 2010 acquisition of Sun Microsystems for $7.4 billion.
In 2016, Ellison pledged to give $200 million to the University of Southern California for a cancer treatment center.
# 9 David Koch– $60.6 Billion
David Koch shares majority control of Koch Industries, U.S's second largest private firm, with his brother Charles.
The Kansas native lives in New York City, and oversees Koch's chemical technology group.
Koch Industries, which has revenues of $100 billion, operates pipelines, produces fertilizer and makes Dixie cups and Quilted Northern toilet paper.
A well-known philanthropist, David is a donor to New York's Lincoln Center and Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
David Koch ran as the Libertarian Party's vice presidential candidate in 1980 on a ticket with Ed Clark; they won 1% of the vote.
# 8 Charles Koch– $60.6 BILLION
Charles Koch has been chairman and CEO of Koch Industries, America's second largest private company, since 1967.
The conglomerate has $100 billion in revenues from businesses including pipelines, chemicals, Dixie cups, Brawny paper towels and Stainmaster carpets.
His father, Fred Koch, started the business in 1940 and improved a method of refining heavy oil into gasoline.
The Kansas native owns a 42% stake in the firm, as does his brother, David; they bought their two other brothers' shares in 1983.
Koch has funded a number of think tanks, including the libertarian Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute.
# 7 Carlos Slim Helu & Family – $70.1 Billion
Mexico's richest man, Carlos Slim Helu and his family control America Movil, Latin America's biggest mobile telecom firm.
With foreign telecom partners, Slim bought a stake in Telmex, Mexico's only phone company, in 1990. Telmex is now part of America Movil.
He also owns stakes in Mexican construction, consumer goods, mining and real estate companies and 17% of The New York Times.
His son-in-law Fernando Romero designed the Soumaya Museum in Mexico City, home to Slim's extensive, eclectic art collection.
# 6 Amancio Ortega – $68.8 Billion
Amancio Ortega is one of the richest men in Europe and the wealthiest retailer in the world.
A pioneer in fast fashion, he cofounded Inditex, known for its Zara fashion chain, with his ex-wife Rosalia Mera (d. 2013) in 1975.
He owns about 60% of Madrid-listed Inditex, which has 8 brands, including Massimo Dutti and Pull & Bear, and 7,500 stores around the world.
Ortega typically earns more than $400 million in dividends a year.
He has invested his dividends primarily into real estate in Madrid, Barcelona, London, Chicago, Miami and New York.
# 5 Mark Zuckerberg – $64 Billion
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's CEO, has seen his net worth soar as the social network's stock price has skyrocketed.
A Harvard dropout, he founded Facebook in 2004 at the age of 19.
Zuckerberg started Facebook at Harvard for students to match names with faces in class.
He took Facebook public in May 2012 and still owns nearly 17% of the stock.
Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, have pledged to give away 99% of their Facebook stake over their lifetimes.
# 4 Bernard Anault & Family – $78.3 Billion
One of the world's ultimate taste-makers, Bernard Arnault oversees an empire of 70 brands including Louis Vuitton and Sephora.
Record results at LVMH and a megadeal to buy out nearly all of Christian Dior helped boost Arnault's fortune by $30.5 billion in one year.
Arts patron is the visionary behind the $135 million Frank Gehry-designed Foundation Louis Vuitton museum in Paris' Bois de Boulogne, opened in 2014.
# 3 Warrant Buffet – $60.7 Billion
Known as the "Oracle of Omaha," Warren Buffett is one of the most successful investors of all time.
He runs Berkshire Hathaway, which owns more than 60 companies, including insurer Geico, battery maker Duracell and restaurant chain Dairy Queen.
The son of a U.S. congressman, he first bought stock at age 11 and first filed taxes at age 13.
He has committed to giving more than 99% of his fortune to charity. So far he has given nearly $32 billion.
With friend Bill Gates he launched The Giving Pledge in 2010, asking billionaires to donate half their wealth to charitable causes.
# 2 Bill Gates – $90.5 Billion
With his wife Melinda, Bill Gates chairs the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world's largest private charitable foundation.
The foundation works to save lives and improve global health, and is working with Rotary International to eliminate polio.
Gates has sold or given away much of his stake in Microsoft -- he owns just over 1% of shares -- and invested in a mix of stocks and other assets.
He remains a board member of Microsoft, the software firm he founded with Paul Allen in 1975.
In late 2016, Gates announced the launch of a $1 billion Breakthrough Energy investment fund with about 20 other people.
#1 Jeff Bezos – $120.1 Billion
Amazon's chief Jeff Bezos is the first person to top $100 billion as number one on the Forbes list of the World's Billionaires.
He owns 16% of e-commerce colossus Amazon, which he founded in a garage in Seattle in 1994.
Bezos attended Princeton and worked at a hedge fund before quitting to sell books online.
His other passion is space travel: His aerospace company, Blue Origin, is developing a reusable rocket that Bezos says will carry passengers.
Bezos purchased The Washington Post in 2013 for $250 million.