Chinese, American and French billionaires were the most successful in a pandemic year.
"The total wealth of Chinese billionaires has grown by 60%, or $750 billion, over the year. The fortune of 400 Chinese billionaires is now estimated at $2 trillion", Forbes wrote.
The publication did not take into account the data on 67 billionaires from Hong Kong, whose combined fortune increased over the year by 60 billion (plus 19%) to 380 billion. The owner of bottled water manufacturer Nongfu Spring got richest. His fortune rose from $2 billion in April to $62.5 billion in December, thanks to the company's IPO.
In second place are 600 American billionaires, who became richer by $560 billion: their combined fortune reached $4 trillion. Forbes notes that the main reason for their improved wealth was the growth of the stock market: the S P 500 Index (NYSE:SPY) has added 13% this year, and the NASDAQ Composite index 38%.
For Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, the year of the pandemic was a super-successful one: his condition grew by $110 billion thanks to a 630% surge in Tesla stock. Now, with a capital of $137bn, Musk has become the third richest man in the world.
Ahead of him are Jeff Bezos, founder of online commerce platform Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), with a fortune of $182.6bn, and Bernard Arnault, the French tycoon who owns Christian Dior (PA:DIOR) and Louis Vuitton SE (PA:LVMH), with $148.4bn.
The latter, along with L’Oreal SA (PA:OREP) co-owner Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, accounted for more than half of the French billionaires capital gains: their combined condition rose by $95bn (23%) to $500bn, which earned them a respectable third place in this race. LVMH shares rose 30% this year, making Arnault $35 billion richer, while L'Oreal shares rose 25%, boosting the fortune of the daughter of the L'Oreal founder by $14 billion to $73.2 billion.
In total, the wealth of more than 2,200 billionaires in the world has grown by $1.9 trillion (20%) since the beginning of the year to reach $11.4 trillion by December 11.