Want to join the upper crust of the billionaire ranks? Building a tech company could be your way in: Seven of the world’s 15 richest self-made billionaires earned their wealth through a technology business.
FORBES ranked the 15 richest tech billionaires, altogether worth $426 billion. Their wealth is up 11.6% from last year’s group.
Alibaba cofounder Jack Ma catapulted into the top echelon of technology after his giant retailer’s 2014 IPO more than doubled his net worth to $22.7 billion. Now he’s not only the richest man in China, but also also the richest-ever Chinese techie.
China may be on the move but the majority of tech wealth still resides in the U.S. Microsoft’s MSFT -0.36% Bill Gates remains in the lead: for the 16th out of the past 21 years, he is not only the richest person in technology, but also the richest person on the planet, with a net worth of $79.2 billion. His wealth grew even as Gates unloaded about a third of his remaining stake in Microsoft over the past year, gifting $1.5 billion to his philanthropic foundation. That helped former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer became the company’s single-largest shareholder last year. He’s spread some of his wealth, though: Ballmer paid a record $2 billion for the LA Clippers after fellow billionaire Donald Sterling was forced to sell the NBA team due to racist remarks.
Oracle ORCL -0.16% founder Larry Ellison’s fortune saw the second-largest gain in the list after Ma’s: the value of his publicly traded company helped him gain $6.6 billion this year, putting his total net worth at $54.3 billion.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg also climbed up the ranks as his social network plowed $19 billion in cash and stock into smartphone messaging platform WhatsApp, adding 700 million users to Facebook’s subscriber arsenal (and minting two more tech billionaires in the process). Zuckerberg added $4.9 billion to his net worth over the past year.
via The World’s Richest Tech Billionaires: Jack Ma Breaks Through to Top, Google Leaders Slip.