Crazy-rich people: World's biggest winners and losers

Crazy-rich people: World's biggest winners and losers

The markets may be tanking, but that has not stopped plenty of mega-fortunes from being unearthed last year.

Singaporean billionaires put in a strong collective showing, while American billionaires, as a group, were the biggest losers.

And despite the slide in global financial markets, individuals behind some rising enterprises have shone.

The popularity of Fortnite, the phenomenon that forced some into video game rehab, for example, gave gamemaker Tim Sweeney a US$7.2 billion (S$9.8 billion) fortune this year.

Mr Autry Stephens has US$11.4 billion after his closely held Endeavour Energy Resources attracted bids that valued the oil company at as much as US$15 billion.

“It was a good year for wealth creation,” said Mr Michael Zeuner, managing partner of WE Family Offices. “It was a tough year in financial markets, but for people who are creating wealth through companies, the economy itself is very strong.”

Mr Sweeney and Mr Stephens were just two of the 31 individuals who vaulted onto the Bloomberg Billionaires Index last year, even as increasing global trade tensions and a downdraught in the markets saw half-a-trillion dollars of wealth on the ranking wiped out.

Ms Denise Coates, the British founder and chief executive officer of online bookmaker Bet365 Group, is another addition. She is nearly 10 times richer than Queen Elizabeth II, according to the ranking.

However, market turmoil pushed many wealthy people into the red.

The world’s 500 richest people lost US$451 billion last year – a sharp reversal from 2017 when they added US$1 trillion to their fortunes.

Here are the billionaires who gained and lost last year.


Singaporean billionaires fared the best in dollar terms, gaining US$2.5 billion. That pushed the wealth of the country’s richest to a collective net worth of US$38 billion.

Mr Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder and richest man in the world, was last year’s biggest gainer for the second year running – his net worth growing about US$24 billion to US$123 billion.

But even he was a loser in the second half of the year as stock markets were routed. From a September peak, Mr Bezos has since seen his fortune drop US$45 billion.

Despite Chinese billionaires’ total loss of nearly US$76 billion, some of them still came out ahead, including Mr Lei Jun, founder of Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi. He trailed only Mr Bezos among the biggest gainers of last year, adding US$8.6 billion to his fortune.


American billionaires saw the biggest loss this year, collectively dropping US$76 billion, largely because of last month’s market rout.

Mr Mark Zuckerberg saw the sharpest drop last year as Facebook veered from crisis to crisis. His net worth fell nearly US$20 billion, leaving the 34-year-old with a US$53 billion fortune.

China’s Wang Jianlin, Jack Ma and Ma Huateng made up three of the 10 biggest losers last year.

Fifty people dropped off the index, including 11 from China or Hong Kong, nine from the US and four from Russia.

Among those who fell off the list were Mr Andrej Babis, the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic whose fortune is derived from his chemical and agricultural company Agrofert, and Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska, whose net worth plunged to a record low as stock of Rusal fell on concern that the aluminum giant could halt some production because of US sanctions.

And 13 billionaires on the list died last year, including Microsoft’s Paul Allen.


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