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Agents of Change
Forbes Publishes 34th List of Global Billionaires
They Provide Aid amid the Coronavirus Pandemic
Billionaires Provide Aid Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic.

NEW YORK, April 7, 2020 — Forbes today released its 34th annual world’s billionaires list, which ranks the wealthiest individuals globally. Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, some of the world’s wealthiest are serving as agents of change and taking action to reinvent their businesses to aid in the global response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Billionaires like tech tycoon Bill Gates; Eric Yuan, CEO of Zoom; Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH, Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb; Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and a host of others are using their financial resources to help combat the health crisis and boost the economy. The Forbes wealth team is closely monitoring what billionaires are doing in response to the pandemic with a Billionaire Tracker: Actions The World’s Wealthiest Are Taking In Response To The Coronavirus Pandemic.

There are 2,095 billionaires on the 2020 ranking, down from 2,153 in 2019. The total combined net worth of this year’s billionaires is $8 trillion, down from $8.7 trillion in 2020. 267 people dropped off this year’s list and a record 1,062 individuals have seen a drop in their fortunes, both reflective of the turbulent markets and the coronavirus pandemic.

Among the billionaires from South Korea on the list are Lee Kun-hee (No. 75, $14.1 billion), Kim Jung-ju (No. 241, $6.3 billion), Seo Jung-jin (No. 253, $6.1 billion), Jay Y. Lee (No. 330, $5 billion) and Park Yeon-cha (No. 648, $3.1 billion).

“The world’s richest are not immune to the devastating impact of the coronavirus,” said Kerry A. Dolan, Assistant Managing Editor of Wealth, Forbes. “The drop in the number of billionaires this year reflects the economic impact the pandemic is already having.”

To view the full list, visit www.forbes.com/billionaires

Centi-billionaire Jeff Bezos maintains the top spot on this year’s ranking, for the third consecutive year, despite his net worth plunging by $18 billion. The Amazon CEO is valued at $113 billion, down from $131 billion last year. The decrease in his net worth is primarily due to his recent divorce. Bill Gates remains in the No. 2 position with a fortune of $98 billion, up $1.5 billion from last year. Bernard Arnault of LVMH moves up on this year’s ranking and debuts in the top three, as the third-wealthiest person in the world, after Warren Buffett’s fortune fell by $15 billion. Buffett (No. 4) is valued at $67.5 billion, down from $82.5 from last year. Rounding out the top five is Larry Ellison, founder, chairman and Chief Technology Officer of Oracle Corporation. While the software executive moves up on the ranking, his fortune is down $3.5 billion this year, to $59 billion.

There are 178 billionaires who made this list for the first time. Eric Yuan, CEO of Zoom, debuts on the list as Zoom gains mass popularity while many companies are shifting to a remote workforce.

The richest newcomer is Julia Koch, who inherited a 42% stake in Koch Industries from her late husband, David, who died last year. Her $38.2 billion fortune puts her at No. 18 on the ranking, tied with her brother-in-law, Charles Koch. Julia’s inheritance makes her the third richest woman in the world, after Walmart’s Alice Walton and L'Oréal’s Francoise Bettencourt Meyers.

Another notable newcomer: MacKenzie Bezos, ex-wife of Jeff Bezos, who lands at No. 22 on the list with a total net worth of $36 billion.

Approximately 70% of the list is made up of self-made billionaires. Those 1,457 listers are people who have built a company or established a fortune on their own. There are a total of 241 women on the 2020 list, including seven who share their fortunes with their husband, child or sibling.

Regionally, Asia-Pacific boasts the most billionaires, with 778, followed by the United States with 614 and Europe with 511. By country, the U.S. leads with the greatest number of billionaires, with 614 (up from 607 last year), followed by China with 389 (up from 324 last year); Germany with 107 (down from 114), India with 102 (down from 106) and Russia with 99 (up from 98).

President Trump’s net worth has plunged $1 billion in less than a month.

As of March 1, Forbes valued President Donald Trump’s net worth at $3.1 billion. The markets took a turn and reporters went back to work to approximate how much the coronavirus affected the president’s fortune. Trump’s newly estimated fortune is now $2.1 billion, bringing him to No. 1001 on this year’s ranking, down from No. 715 last year.

The 2020 Billionaires issue features five consecutive covers, including Larry Ellison, Masayoshi Son, Eric Yuan, Meg Whitman and Michael Tojner.

THE COVER STORIES INCLUDE:

• Larry Ellison, founder, chairman and Chief Technology Officer of Oracle Corporation, is featured in the Forbes cover story “Larry’s Laboratory”. Ellison reveals his big data battle plan to fight coronavirus in partnership with the Trump White House.

• Masayoshi Son - An exclusive interview with billionaire Masayoshi Son that takes readers inside SoftBank and its controversial, record $100 billion Vision Fund to look at how the coronavirus has dramatically damaged the fund's prospects and how SoftBank and Son can still survive. Forbes spoke to more than 50 key players in Silicon Valley and Wall Street to answer the question: Can the Vision Fund succeed? And can SoftBank survive short-term pressures long enough for Son's long-term vision to play out?

• Eric Yuan, CEO of Zoom, is featured in the Forbes cover story “All Eyes On Zoom”. In the exclusive story, Yuan reveals how his company is coping with surging demand – and scrutiny – after the videoconferencing service experienced several security issues.

• Meg Whitman, CEO of Quibi, is featured in the Forbes cover story “The Billionaire’s Startup”. With the world on Coronavirus lockdown, Whitman and Quibi chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, are using the new mobile streaming service to bring entertainment to people around the world.

• Michael Tojner - Against all odds, Austrian serial entrepreneur Michael Tojner turned a $40 million investment in a money-losing hearing-aid battery maker into a $1.9 billion fortune (thank you, Apple!). Now he has to fend off the copycats.

Methodology

The Forbes Billionaires list is a snapshot in time of wealth using stock prices and exchange rates from March 18, 2020. Forbes lists individuals rather than multi-generational families who share large fortunes, though we include wealth belonging to a billionaire’s spouse and children if that person is the founder of the fortune. In some cases, siblings and couples are listed together if the ownership breakdown among them isn’t clear, however they still must be worth on average a minimum of $1 billion apiece to make the cut.

For the Forbes 2020 Billionaires list and features, visit: www.forbes.com/billionaires. To follow the conversation on social, use: #ForbesBillionaires

About Forbes

The defining voice of entrepreneurial capitalism, Forbes champions success by celebrating those who have made it, and those who aspire to make it. Forbes convenes and curates the most influential leaders and entrepreneurs who are driving change, transforming business and making a significant impact on the world. The Forbes brand today reaches more than 120 million people worldwide through its trusted journalism, signature LIVE events, custom marketing programs and 40 licensed local editions in 70 countries. Forbes Media’s brand extensions include real estate, education and financial services license agreements.

For more information, visit the Forbes News Hub or Forbes Connect.

Media Contacts:
U.S. - Christina Vega at cvega@forbes.com or Jocelyn Swift at jswift@forbes.com
Asia – Catherine Ong at cath@catherineong.com
Europe – Charlotte Juckes at c.juckes@hawthornadvisors.com



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