Bill Gates is back on top after a four-year hiatus, reclaiming the title of world's richest person from telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helu of Mexico, who ranked No. 1 for the past four years.
Forbes on Monday released the list of the world's billionaires, which includes 1,645 billionaires with an aggregate net worth of $6.4 trillion, up from $5.4 trillion a year ago.
Bill Gates, whose fortune rose by $9 billion in the past year, has held the top spot for 15 of the past 20 years. Spanish clothing retailer Amancio Ortega (best known for the Zara fashion chain) retains the No. 3 spot for the second year in a row, extending his lead over Warren Buffett, who is again No. 4. American gambling tycoon Sheldon Adelson, who added $11.5 billion to his pile, makes it back into the top ten for the first time since 2007.
According to Forbes, year's biggest dollar gainer was Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, whose fortune jumped $15.2 billion, to $28.5 billion, as shares of his social network soared. Faceobook's COO, Sheryl Sandberg, joins the ranks for the first time, as does Facebook's longtime vice president Jeff Rothschild. Also, thanks to a $19 billion deal (including restricted stock) with Facebook, WhatsApp founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton join the ranks of Silicon Valley's wealthiest for the first time. They are 4 of 26 newcomers whose fortunes come from technology, 10 of whom are American, including Dropbox CEO Drew Houston and Workday cofounder Aneel Bhusri.
Oracle's Larry Ellison took the 5th place on the list ($48 billion). Google's Larry Page took the 17th place on the list with a n estimateed net worth of $32.3 billion, followded by Amazon.com's Jeff Bezos ($32 billion) and Google's Sergey Brin ($31.8 billion). Microsoft's Steve Ballmer ranked 36th ($19.3 billion), followed by Michael Dell (48 place, $17.5 billion)
Thanks to the tech boom, the U.S. once again leads the world with 492 billionaires, followed by China with 152 and Russia with 111. However, Forbes found billionaires for the first time in Algeria, Lithuania, Tanzania and Uganda. Also for the first time, an African, Aliko Dangote of Nigeria, breaks into the top 25. Worth $25 billion, he moves up 20 spots.