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Friday, 16 June, 2000, 10:29 GMT 11:29 UK
Tech billionaires dominate rich list
Bill Gates: still the richest billionaire
Bill Gates: still the richest billionaire
The world's richest people are still drawn from the world of high technology, according to the latest survey of billionaires published by Forbes magazine.

However, the collapse in Microsoft's share price has weakened the lead held by Microsoft's founder Bill Gates.

Larry Ellison of rival software company Oracle is now snapping at his heels.

Mr Ellison's company saw its share price increase by 500%, while Microsoft's value halved after it was found guilty of anti-trust violations by a US court.

The co-founder of Microsoft, Paul Allen, and its current President, Steve Ballmer, are also high on the list.
World's richest people
Bill Gates: $60bn
Larry Ellison: $47bn
King Fahd of Saudi Arabia: $30bn
Warren Buffett: $28bn
Paul Allen: $28bn
S. Robson Walton: $20bn
Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud: $20bn
Theo and Karl Albrecht: $20bn
Masayoshi Son: $19.4bn
Michael Dell: $17.8bn
Kenneth Thomson: $16.1bn
Steve Ballmer: $15.5bn

Forbes says there are now 482 billionaires in the world, with the richest 200 people now worth $1.1 trillion.

The list is dominated by North Americans, with the Wal-Mart family, Dell Computer founder Michael Dell and Canadian media magnate Kenneth Thomson also among the top ten.

Nearly 60% of all billionaires (308) are from the United States.

But some high-tech magnates have seen their fortunes crash as the boom in high-tech shares cooled since April.

Mr Son, founder of Japanese internet investment firm Softbank, saw his wealth tumble from $68bn in February. But it has still increased three times compared to his position last year.

Japanese mobile phone mogul Yasumitsu Shigeta saw his net worth fall from $39bn to $1.7bn in the same period.

Long-term investor Warren Buffett also saw his wealth decline by $8bn.

The youngest billionaires are Jerry Yang, 31, founder of Yahoo, who is worth $5.9bn, Michael Dell, 36, and Jeff Bezos of internet bookseller Amazon, 36, worth $6.1bn.

Only 12 of the billionaires were women, led by America's Abbey Johnson of mutual fund Fidelity, who is worth $7.4bn.

The only European in the top ten is the secretive Albrecht family, owner of the Aldi chain of discount supermarkets in Germany.

Britain's share

There are fourteen billionaires in Britain, according to the survey.

They include three new magnates: John Hargreaves, founder of discount clothing chain Matalan; Duty Free Shopping's Robert Miller, and Welsh high-tech venture capitalist Terence Matthews.

UK Dollar Billionaires
Duke of Westminster: $5.5bn (3.7bn)
David Sainsbury: $4.1bn (2.7bn)
Sir Richard Branson: $3.3bn (2.2bn)
Bruno Schroder: $2.3bn (1.5bn)
Bernard Ecclestone: $2.2bn (1.4bn)
Terence Matthews: $1.9bn (1.3bn)
Anthony Bamford: $1.8bn (1.2bn)
John Hargreaves: $1.8bn (1.2bn)
Moores family: $1.8bn (1.2bn)
Gary Weston: $1.6bn (1.1bn)
Jonathan Harmsworth: $1.5bn (1.0bn)
Sir Adrian Swire: $1.5bn (1.0bn)
Joseph Lewis: $1.0bn (600m)
Robert Miller: $1.0bn (600m)

Britain now has more billionaires than France (13), but considerably fewer than Germany (39).

But unlike some other countries, the rich in Britain have mainly gained their wealth through retailing or media, not high-tech ventures.

Their wealth comes from supermarkets (David Sainsbury), bread-making (Gary Weston), newspapers (Jonathan Harmsworth), records and aeroplanes (Richard Branson, Adrian Swire), construction equipment (Anthony Bamford), and Littlewoods pools (Moores family).

But the richest man in Britain is still property owner, the Duke of Westminster, who inherited his central London estates.

The Queen is only worth $450m, according to Forbes, if you do not count the possessions she holds in trust for the nation, like the Crown Jewels.

If these were counted, she would be worth $16bn (11bn), and would be the richest person in Britain.

The Forbes list is based on stock market prices as of 22 May and estimates of the value of privately held companies.

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See also:

07 Jun 00 | Business
Poor Bill Gates
13 Jan 00 | Business
Steve Ballmer, friend of Bill
19 Mar 00 | Business
Brits are Forbes tech billionaires
22 Jun 98 | The Economy
Gates tops rich list
10 Feb 00 | Microsoft
Bill Gates: A profile
10 Feb 00 | Microsoft
Larry Ellison: A profile
16 Jun 00 | South Asia
India's richest ride on IT wave
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