The jobs and companies that have created the most billionaires

Hurun Global has published its 2018 rich-list, tracking 2,694 billionaires from 68 countries and from 2,157 companies – in what was another record-breaking year for the world’s ultra-rich.

The report found that the there are now 437 more dollar-billionaires compared to 2017 – indicating that more than one person becomes a billionaire somewhere in the world every day.

“A boom in China, a weak dollar and a 26% hike in Nasdaq have led to a surge in dollar billionaires across the world,” said Hurun’s Rupert Hoogewerf.

“The US dollar depreciated 16% against the euro, 12% against the British pound, 10% against the Chinese yuan and 6% against the Indian rupee. Global economic growth was at 3% last year, the fastest rate since 2011 and a significant acceleration compared with 2.4% the previous year,” he said.

While the report tracks the typical wealthy individuals such as Microsoft founder Bill Gates, founder Jeff Bezos, and investor Warren Buffet, it also looks at how the world’s dollar-billionaires created their wealth.

Source of wealth

“It has been a great year for food & beverage and metals & mining, with both sectors up 32% and 31% respectively in terms of the number of billionaires,” Hurun said.

“All sectors exhibited positive growth with manufacturing sector registering the lowest growth of 5% in the Top 10 industries. Real estate stepped up from fourth to second place.”

The report found that the ‘Big Four’ of TMT (technology, media and telecom), real estate, manufacturing and investments accounted for 44% of the cumulative wealth, and contributed 41% of total billionaires.

USA and China alone accounted for 66% of TMT billionaires in the list.

Rank Industry % of billionaires % of change Richest person Company
1 TMT 11.1% -2.1%  Jeff Bezos Amazon
2 Real estate 9.1% -0.3%  Xu Jiayin Evergrande
3 Manufacturing 8.5% -2.0%  Georg Schaeffler Schaeffler Group
4 Investments 8.3% -1.2%  Warren Buffet Berkshire Hathaway
5 Retail 7.7% -1.1%  Amancio Ortega Inditex
6 Food & Beverages 7.3% +0.1%  Jacqueline and John Mars Mars
7 Financial Services 4.7% -0.3%  Thomas Petterffy Interactive Brokers
8 Energy 4.3% -0.7%  Charles and David Koch Koch Industries
9 Pharmaceuticals 4.3% -0.6%  Ernesto Bertarelli Serono
10 Metals & Mining 2.9% 0.0%  Alexey Mordashov Severstal

Companies that created the most billionaires

While companies like Amazon may be famous for creating billions for its founder Jeff Bezos, its not necessarily the company that created the most billionaires.

In this regard Red Bull leads the way, followed by Chilean retailer SACI Falabella and Thailand’s Charoen Pokphand.

Red Bull’s shareholders are led by Dietrich Mateschitz, China’s Yan Bin and 11 children of co-founder, Chaleo Yoovidhya.

Rank Company Number of billionaires
1 Red Bull 13
2 SACI Falabella 12
2 Charoen Pokphand 12
4 Roche 9
4 Hyatt 9
4 Cargill 9
7 Walmart 8
7 Dr Oetker 8
7 B. Braun 8

New ways of making a billion

There were 19 new entrants to the Top 100, led by Francoise Bettencourt-Meyers of L’Oreal who inherited the wealth from her mother Liliane, who died in September last year aged 94.

Others include Chinese real estate heir Yang Huiyan of Country Garden, whose share prices more than tripled in the past year and Chinese car tycoon Li Shufu of Geely, who just bought into 10% of Daimler for $9 billion this month.

Lei Jun of MI surged back 72% on the back of stronger mobile phone sales while India’s Gautam Adani doubled his wealth $14 billion.

Hurun outlined some of the other major ways that new and current billionaires added to their wealth over the last year:

  • Online retail adding physical outlets – Jeff Bezos of Amazon bought Whole Foods last year for $13.4 billion, branching towards physical grocery stores.
  • Chat to Payments – Jack Ma Yun of Alibaba and Pony Ma Huateng of Tencent are leading the way for China to become a cashless society.
  • Shared economy – Cheng Wei of Didi is catching up to Travis Kalanick of Uber, which had a difficult year with Kalanick leaving the company. Adam Neuman, 38, and Miguel Mckelvey, 43, of WeWork are leading the charge for shared office space.
  • Robotics – The leader is ‘Drone King’ Frank Wang Tao, 38, of DJI with $5.3 billion.
  • Interstellar opportunities – Space exploration is heating up. Elon Musk’s SpaceX is valued at $21 billion, the most valuable space exploration company in the world. Jeff Bezos is promoting his reusable rocket company Blue Origin aimed at “colonizing space”. Larry Ellison of Oracle is seeking to mine asteroids.
  • Hyperloop – Some of the billionaires including Elon Musk and Richard Branson are seriously investing into Hyperloop technology, the innovative transportation tech. Virgin signed an MOU with the Maharashtra government for its first ever Hyperloop to be unveiled by 2023.
  • Twitter profitability – Jack Dorsey of Twitter has seen his wealth more than double to$3.7 billion, perhaps as a result of Donald Trump’s endorsement and achieving profitability for the first time.
  • Blockchain – 2017 was a breakout year for the crypto asset class, with retail and institutional investors alike trying to get in on the potentially transformative technology. Chris Larsen ($5.3 billion) is the richest crypto billionaire, owing his sudden jump of wealth to the rising popularity of crypto currencies.

Read: For billionaires in South Africa, flying first-class to Paris is like buying a chocolate

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The jobs and companies that have created the most billionaires