The tech and telecoms sector is holding firm towards the top of the table, with Carlos Slim, Bill Gates and Oracle owner Larry Ellison inside the top 10 and more than 100 across the entire list. Savvy investments in the likes of Facebook and Twitter can also make billions, as Netscape founder James Clark has found.
On the media side, Oprah Winfrey is one of the few television “faces” to boast a personal wealth of more than a billion, and even she is outstripped by the likes of Reuters chair David Thomson ($17.5bn) and News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch ($8.3bn).
The Sage of Omaha, Warren Buffett, leads more than 150 investors holding spots on this year’s billionaires’ list. But hedge fund tycoon George Soros demonstrated the perils of the sector, with his wealth swinging from $14.5bn to $22bn then back to $20bn in the space of a year – though it still makes him the world’s 22nd richest man.
● Fashion and retail
Some 130 billionaires have made their fortunes in retail, with brands ranging from Aldi to Louis Vuitton peppering the top 10. Despite the miserable state of the UK high street, the likes of H&M’s Stefan Persson and Nike’s Phil Knight still expanded their fortunes.
With around 80 energy billionaires, 90 or so in manufacturing and dozens more labelled simply as “diversified” by Forbes, making stuff is still a popular path to the top of the world’s wealth pile. Lakshmi Mittal might have crashed out of the top 20, but the Koch brothers, steel tycoon Roman Abramovich and Swedish packaging scion Birgit Rausing are still doing well.