AI goldcrests, rich Russians and Taylor Swift are moving up the Forbes billionaires list


April 3, 2024
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The annual billionaire ranking of the American business magazine Forbes shows that 2024 will be a top year for the very rich. Bernard Arnault, of the luxury group LVMH, is at the top of the list. Well-known newcomers are Taylor Swift and Sam Altman.

“It was a banner year for the world’s richest, with more billionaires than ever before,” Forbes said. According to the business magazine’s calculations, the world will have about 2,781 billionaires in 2024. That is 141 more than last year and 26 more than the previous record from 2021. Together they represent a capital of 14,200 billion dollars, 2,000 billion more than the previous record of 2021.

The essence

  • Business magazine Forbes has released its annual billionaires list. This shows that there are approximately 2,781 billionaires worldwide, who have a collective wealth of 14,200 billion dollars (13,177 billion euros). Over the past ten years, the capital of billionaires has increased by 120 percent.
  • The first Belgian on the honors list is at number 298. He is the 76-year-old ultra-discreet businessman Eric Wittouck. According to Forbes, our country has ten billionaires.
  • Forbes based its rankings on stock and exchange rates. The business magazine values ​​shares in private companies by comparing them with sector peers.
  • The AI ​​gold rush is bringing a dozen new names to the list, including OpenAi CEO Sam Altman. The most famous newcomer on the list is probably the singer Taylor Swift.

It is striking that as of this year no fewer than 14 people are part of the illustrious ‘100 billion club’, people with a capital of 12 figures. Until 2021, only Amazon founder Jeff Bezos amassed so much money. The lucky few are worth a total of $2 trillion, which means that 0.5 percent of the world’s 2,781 billionaires control 14 percent of the wealth of all billionaires on earth.

Richest man in the world

The richest man in the world for the second year in a row is Frenchman Bernard Arnault, founder and chairman of Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH) – the luxury conglomerate behind brands such as Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co. and the makeup giant Sephora. At $233 billion, he is worth $38 billion more than number 2, Elon Musk (despite the tumbling Tesla share). Jeff Bezos rounds out the top 3, with an estimated net worth of $194 billion.

Although two in three of the world’s billionaires are richer than they were a year ago, no one was doing as well as Mark Zuckerberg. Thanks to a tripling of Meta shares, a cost-cutting round of layoffs and investments in the Metaverse and artificial intelligence (AI), his wealth has grown by $116.2 billion in a year to an estimated $177 billion.

Top 10 richest people in the world according to Forbes

  1. Bernard Arnault | $233 billion | luxury group LVMH
  2. Elon Musk | $195 billion | Tesla, SpaceX
  3. Jeff Bezos | $194 billion | Amazon
  4. Mark Zuckerberg | $177 billion | Meta
  5. Larry Ellison | $141 billion | software giant Oracle
  6. Warren Buffett | $133 billion | investment company Berkshire Hathaway
  7. Bill Gates | $128 billion | Microsoft
  8. Steve Ballmer | $121 billion | Microsoft
  9. Mukesh Ambani | $116 billion | Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries
  10. Larry Page | $114 billion | Google

AI and Russia

Last year’s AI gold rush saw a dozen newcomers. The entrepreneurial couple Charles Liang and Sara Liu, the founders of the AI ​​stock exchange star Super Micro Computer, are worth $6.1 billion and $1.3 billion respectively. Lisa Su, the CEO of chipmaker AMD, Michelle Zatlyn, the 45-year-old Canadian founder of the cybersecurity company Cloudflare, and Sam Altman of OpenAI are also entering the billionaire club, according to Forbes.


billion dollars

The collective wealth of the 2,781 billionaires according to Forbes.

Forbes also zoomed in on the wealth of Russian billionaires. They are also farming well. The richest Russians added a total of $72 billion to their fortunes in 2024. Their combined value therefore amounted to 577 billion dollars. At the top of the list is oligarch Vagit Alekperov, the former CEO of oil giant Lukoil.

In 2021, before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Forbes estimated the total wealth of Russian billionaires at $606 billion. Due to Western sanctions, their total assets fell to $353 billion in 2022. According to Forbes, the recovery of recent years is due to high commodity prices, the increasing strength of the Russian war economy and the decreasing impact of the sanctions.


Celebrities are also getting richer. Pop idol Taylor Swift has amassed around 1.1 billion dollars or 875 million euros at the age of 34. She owes a large part of that fortune to the record-breaking first leg of her Eras tour. According to Forbes, Swift is the first musician to become a billionaire with her music catalog and performances alone.

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Taylor Swift has amassed around 1.1 billion dollars or 875 million euros at the age of 34.

Fellow musicians Rihanna and Jay-Z made the list again this year, but not entirely thanks to their music careers. Rihanna launched her successful cosmetics brand Fenty Beauty in 2017. Jay-Z is both a rapper and an entrepreneur. He has his own cognac and champagne brand, is an avid art collector and owns the streaming service Tidal and the entertainment company Roc Nation.


Forbes based its rankings on stock and exchange rates. Most billionaires have the vast majority of their wealth tied up in their businesses, in the form of stocks. The lion’s share of their assets is therefore quite easy to trace. Forbes says it values ​​shares in private companies by comparing them with peers.

To some extent, drawing up a list of billionaires remains a bit of guesswork.

To some extent this remains a matter of guesswork. Take the fortune of the ultra-discreet businessman Eric Wittouck. According to Forbes, he is the richest Belgian with around 8.5 billion dollars or 7.8 billion euros. However, the website The Richest Belgians estimates his wealth at 10.8 billion euros. Because it is divided into various companies and foundations, the evolution of that capital is difficult to estimate. The value of certain investments or participations often only becomes public when a company goes public.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: goldcrests rich Russians Taylor Swift moving Forbes billionaires list


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