- A booming stock market and newly created Internet wealth have expanded the world's billionaires club and pushed the collective net worth of the richest 200 working people beyond $1 trillion, Forbes magazine said in its latest ranking of billionaires.
With $90 billion to his name, Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates tops the list of 465 billionaires counted in the magazine's July 5 issue, the 13th annual ranking of the world's billionaires.
Just as the Internet has increased the pace of daily life, so has it accelerated the creation of more wealth, particularly among the richest individuals.
The magazine said the total wealth of the Top 200 working rich not only surpassed $1 trillion this year, but their collective net worth is double the $463 billion that the top 200 billionaires had 10 years ago. Gates alone has as much money as the Top 9 on the list 10 years ago.
Forbes has a separate list for what it calls the "World's Working Rich," those who made their own wealth or are working with their inheritance.
Gates, who co-founded the computer software company in 1975, remains by far the world's richest man as his net worth nearly doubled from $51 billion last year, briefly touching $100 billion in April before the stock market retreated.
Microsoft boosted two others into the five top positions. Co-founder Paul Allen was in the No. 3 spot, with a $30 billion net worth, behind investor Warren Buffet's $36 billion. Microsoft President Steven Ballmer was in fourth place, with $19.5 billion.
In fifth place were the Oeri, Hoffman and Sacher families of Switzerland with $17 billion from the Roche Holding Ltd. pharmaceuticals conglomerate.
Tied for sixth place with a net worth of $16.5 billion were oil, rail and telecommunications magnate Philip Anschutz and Dell Computer Corp. Chairman Michael Dell, who at 34 was the youngest in the Top 10.
The Top 10 list is actually a top 11, because the next four spots, eight through 11, are held by members of the Walton family, heirs of the late Wal-Mart Stores Inc. founder Sam Walton. Forbes estimated their wealth at $16 billion each.
Billionaires investing in .com companies were catapulted onto this year's list.
Jay Walker, founder of Priceline.com, and Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay Inc., went from nowhere into the Top 50. Walker was No. 25 with a net worth of $10.2 billion, while Omidyar was 36th with $10.1 billion.