While the coronavirus crisis pushed 267 people off Forbes’ annual tally of the world’s richest people, there were still plenty of billionaires around to fill out the list.
Sitting at the top of the pile for the third year in a row was Jeff Bezos. This was despite the Amazon founder losing tens of billions of dollars in his divorce, lowering his net worth from $131 billion to $113 billion.
But while the divorce shrank his fortune, it resulted in a new billionaire, as his ex-wife, MacKenzie Bezos, made her debut on the list at number 22 with a total net worth of $36 billion.
Another retail billionaire featured in the top five was Bernard Arnault, the chairman and chief executive officer of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. He leapfrogged legendary investor Warren Buffett to claim the third spot, with a fortune of $76 billion, the same as last year. Buffett ended up in fourth place after his fortune tumbled $15 billion, to $67.5 billion, as some of his investments stumbled during the year.
Also in the top five was Bill Gates, who remained in the number-two spot with a fortune of $98 billion, up $1.5 billion from last year. Oracle founder Larry Ellison was in fifth place at $59 billion.
Amancio Ortega, cofounder of Zara owner Inditex, just missed out on making the top five. He was number six with a net worth of $55.1 billion, followed by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg at $54.7 billion.
Elsewhere, Alibaba cofounder Jack Ma clocked in $38.8 billion, putting him in 17th place, while Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, who just revealed he was donating $1 billion to charity, including COVID-19 relief, was 804th with a $2.6 billion fortune.
This is the biggest donation yet, but many other billionaires, including Arnault, Zuckerberg and Gates, have also made sizable donations and some are using their factories to make face masks and hand sanitizer. LVMH has been making hand sanitizer and has secured orders for surgical masks.
But it wasn’t just the usual faces in the Forbes index this year, with 178 billionaires making the list for the first time. They included Eric Yuan, ceo of Zoom, which has surged in popularity with large swathes of the world’s population having to work from home amid the coronavirus outbreak. According to Forbes, his fortune was $5.5 billion.
He’s not the richest newcomer, though. That title goes to Julia Koch, who inherited a 42 percent stake in Koch Industries from her late husband, David. Her $38.2 billion fortune puts her at number 18 in 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 Françoise Bettencourt Meyers. They’re worth $54.4 billion and $48.9 billion, respectively.
Kylie Jenner also made the list for the second year in a row, with Forbes calculating her wealth to be $1 billion. In November, the reality star and makeup entrepreneur sold a majority stake in Kylie Cosmetics to Coty for $600 million. Jenner also held on to her title as the world’s youngest self-made billionaire.
Overall, there were 2,095 billionaires worth a combined $8 trillion on the 2020 ranking, down from 2,153 and $8.7 trillion, respectively, in 2019. Around 267 people dropped off this year’s list and a record 1,062 witnessed a drop in their fortunes amid the pandemic.
Among those experiencing dwindling wealth was President Donald Trump, whose net worth plunged $1 billion in number 715 last year.
“The world’s richest are not immune to the devastating impact of the coronavirus,” said Kerry A. Dolan, assistant managing editor of wealth at Forbes. “The drop in the number of billionaires this year reflects the economic impact the pandemic is already having.”