Bill Gates
The co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates.Reuters

Bill Gates has reclaimed the title of richest man on earth from Mexican telecoms tycoon Carlos Slim Helu, according to Forbes magazine's latest annual list of the world's richest people.

The Microsoft Corp co-founder currently has a net worth of $76bn (€55bn, £45bn), higher than Slim's $72bn.

Gates, whose wealth rose by $9bn last year, has topped the list in 15 of the last 20 years.

Amancio Ortega, the owner of Spanish clothing giant Inditex SA, claimed third place with a fortune of $64bn.

Investment management guru Warren Buffett and Oracle Corp chief Larry Ellison claimed the fourth and fifth top positions on the list with fortunes of $58.2bn and $48bn, respectively.

Technology Sector Gains

The growth of the tech sector has helped a number of people to enter the rich list, according to Forbes.

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg was the biggest dollar gainer in 2013; his fortune jumped $15.2bn to $28.5bn as shares of his social network soared. Facebook's chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg joined the ranks for the first time, along with the company's longtime vice president Jeff Rothschild.

In addition, Facebook's $19bn deal with WhatsApp helped the instant messenger's founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton join the ranks of Silicon Valley's wealthiest for the first time. Dropbox CEO Drew Houston and Workday co-founder Aneel Bhusri are also among the newcomers.


The largest proportion of billionaires came from the US, thanks to the resurgence of tech and strong stock market gains. There were 492 billionaires from the US, followed by China which had 152 and Russia with 111.

However, wealth is spreading to new places, noted Forbes. The magazine found billionaires for the first time in Algeria, Lithuania, Tanzania and Uganda. Aliko Dangote of Nigeria with a net worth of $25bn entered the top 25 list – the first appearance from an African – moving 20 spots.

A record 1,645 billionaires with a total net worth of $6.4tn made the Forbes rich list this year, up from 1,426 last year.