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Lorrie Minade, editor of Forbes magazine
talks about those on the rich list who have suffered the biggest financial losses
 real 28k

Friday, 22 June, 2001, 12:26 GMT 13:26 UK
Bill Gates still world's richest man
The world's billionaires - country-by-country breakdown
The new economy may have slumped, but Bill Gates is still riding high in the world's rich list.

The Microsoft founder remains the world's richest man, worth $58.7bn, according to Forbes Magazine's list of the world's richest people.

Forbes counted a record number of billionaires - 538 people - with an average net worth of $3.2bn and an average age of 62.

Oracle's Larry Ellison
Gates arch rival Larry Ellison saw his fortune halved to just $26bn

Mr Gates' wealth dropped about 7% from last year's $63bn.

By contrast, the recent rout in tech stocks saw the Nasdaq Composite Index, of which Mr Gates' Microsoft is a component, lose in excess of 30% last year.

In second place fell conservative investment guru Warren Buffet, whose no-nonsense investment approach has caused many Americans - and the media - to watch his every investment move. Mr Buffet is worth $32.3bn, according to Forbes.

Rounding out the top three is Bill Gates' friend and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen with $30.4bn in holdings, down from $48bn in 2000.

Falling down

Getting bumped from last year's No 2 spot is Gates rival Larry Ellison, chief executive of software-firm Oracle. Mr Ellison saw his fortune tumble by half to $26bn, after coming within a hairsbreadth of Mr Gates' riches last year.

Others taking a hit include Masayoshi Son, founder of Softbank, an internet holding company, who was worth $76bn in mid-2000 and is now worth just $5.6bn.

German media-mogul Thomas Hoffa, whose business owns the rights to the Muppets, saw his fortune drop from $4bn last year to a mere $250m this year and thus gets cut from the list.

Men's club

The Forbes World's Billionaire ranking also shows that just 7% of its 538 members are women. Thirty-seven women made the list and only one new woman from outside the US made the ranking - Sweden's Antonia Johnson.

The richest women in the world are Alice and Helen Walton, descendants of Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart, weighing in with $18.5bn each.

The wealthiest woman outside the US is Johanna Quandt of Germany, whose family runs the BMW automobile empire.

The wealthiest woman in Asia is Hong Kong's Nina Wang, a real estate mogul, and the richest woman in Mexico is Modelo beer heiress Maria Aramburuzabala.

US leads

The only Briton in the richest 100 is the Duke of Westminster, whose worth, mostly in land, is put at about 4bn. There are a total of 12 British billionaires, slightly fewer than Mexico but more than Spain - all of them dwarfed by the American contingent of 271. Japan is second with 29.

The youngest billionaire is Daniel Ziff, 29, one of six billionaires under 40, while the oldest is Brazilian media baron Roberto Marinho at 96.

Italy added 10 billionaires this year, including Giorgio Armani and Miuccia Prada, and New Zealand added its first.

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See also:

22 Jun 01 | Business
Branson's cash pile shrinks
21 Jun 01 | Business
Microsoft could face new lawsuit
31 Jan 01 | Business
Gates, a modern-day Napoleon?
07 Jun 00 | Business
Poor Bill Gates
13 Mar 01 | Business
Warren Buffett: 'I told you so'
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