Bloomberg’s 2012 List of the Top 50 Richest People in the World

They make flip-flops and pet food. They sell miniskirts and motorcars. They mine iron ore and distribute soda. Their net worth totals $2.7 trillion, about the size of the gross domestic product of France, the fifth-biggest economy on the planet.

Bloomberg Markets’ inaugural list of the world’s richest people, in the magazine’s December 2012 issue, showcases the billionaires who pull the levers on the global economy. We took a snapshot of Bloomberg’s exclusive daily wealth ranking, the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, to identify the megarich and quantify their fortunes this year through Oct. 5.

The ranking shows who’s on top (America Movil SAB Chairman Emeritus Carlos Slim, with a net worth of $77.5 billion), who’s faltering (Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, who’s down $6.8 billion since Jan. 1) and who’s just wealthy enough to make our top 200 (SAS Institute Inc. co-founder John Sall, who’s worth $5.8 billion).

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, both in the top five, are household names. Yet nobody racked up billions faster than relatively unknown No. 3, Amancio Ortega of Spain. The 76-year-old founded Inditex SA, the world’s largest clothing retailer, which is known for its more than 1,600 trendy Zara stores. He made more than $18 billion from the start of the year through Oct. 5 – or about $66 million a day. That windfall was more than enough for the Spanish tycoon to eclipse Buffett – who’s now No. 4, with $48.4 billion as of Oct. 5.

Ortega’s ascent coincides with an overall rise in retail stocks. Low cotton costs, cheap credit and demand for reasonably priced goods have driven shares of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Inditex to records. Nine of the world’s 25 wealthiest people are retail moguls. Among them are Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad, four members of the Walton family that controls Wal-Mart and Stefan Persson, the largest shareholder in Swedish clothing giant Hennes & Mauritz AB.

Bloomberg News unmasked more than 30 hidden billionaires this year. Brazil’s Dirce Navarro de Camargo inherited her late husband’s industrial conglomerate, Camargo Correa SA, in 1994. Elaine Tettemer Marshall controls 15 percent of Koch Industries Inc., the second-largest closely held company in the U.S. With fortunes of about $12 billion each, both women remain billions shy of Gina Rinehart, the richest woman in the Asia-Pacific region. She’s squabbling with her children over the family’s $19.1 billion minerals empire.

Bloomberg News also revealed Zong Qinghou as mainland China’s richest man, who had a net worth of $20.1 billion on Oct. 5. The once poor soda seller today commands the Hangzhou Wahaha Group Co. beverage empire. With soft drinks producing hard cash, wealth creation is booming in China – and beyond.

Below is a list of Bloomberg’s Top 25 Richest People in the World:

1. Carlos Slim 

Net worth: $77.5 billion

YTD change: + $15.6 billion / + 25.3%

Source of wealth: America Movil

Industry: Telecommunications

Citizenship: Mexico

Age: 72

2. Bill Gates 

Net worth: $64.4 billion

YTD change: + $8.7 billion / + 15.7%

Source of wealth: Microsoft

Industry: Technology

Citizenship: U.S.

Age: 57

3. Amancio Ortega 

Net worth: $53.6 billion

YTD change: + $18.4 billion / + 52.1%

Source of wealth: Inditex

Industry: Retail

Citizenship: Spain

Age: 76

4. Warren Buffett

Net worth: $48.4 billion

YTD change: + $5.7 billion / + 13.2%

Source of wealth: Berkshire Hathaway

Industry: Finance

Citizenship: U.S.

Age: 82

5. Ingvar Kamprad

Net worth: $41.8 billion

YTD change: + $5.0 billion / + 13.7%

Source of wealth: IKEA

Industry: Retail

Citizenship: Sweden

Age: 86

6. Charles Koch   

Net worth: $38.6 billion

YTD change: + $4.8 billion / + 14.1%

Source of wealth: Koch Industries

Industry: Diversified

Citizenship: U.S.

Age: 77

7. David Koch

Net worth: $38.6 billion

YTD change: + $4.8 billion / + 14.1%

Source of wealth: Koch Industries

Industry: Diversified

Citizenship: U.S.

Age: 72

8. Larry Ellison

Net worth: $37.2 billion

YTD change: $4.2 billion / + 12.8%

Source of wealth: Oracle

Industry: Technology

Citizenship: U.S.

Age: 68

9. Christy Walton 

Net worth: $30.5 billion

YTD change: + $5.4 billion / + 21.4%

Source of wealth: Wal-Mart Stores

Industry: Retail

Citizenship: U.S.

Age: 57

10. Jim Walton

Net worth: $29.3 billion

YTD change: + $5.8 billion / + 24.7%

Source of wealth: Wal-Mart Stores

Industry: Retail

Citizenship: U.S.

Age: 64

11. Rob Walton

Net worth: $28.7 billion

YTD change: + $5.7 billion / + 24.7%

Source of wealth: Wal-Mart Stores

Industry: Retail

Citizenship: U.S.

Age: 68

12. Alice Walton

Net worth: $28.2 billion

YTD change: + $5.6 billion / + 25.0%

Source of wealth: Wal-Mart Stores

Industry: Retail

Citizenship: U.S.

Age: 63

13. Li Ka-shing   

Net worth: $27.0 billion

YTD change: + $4.8 billion / + 21.8%

Source of wealth: Cheung Kong Holdings

Industry: Diversified

Citizenship: Hong Kong

Age: 84

14. Mukesh Ambani

Net worth: $26.0 billion

YTD change: + $4.7 billion / + 21.8%

Source of wealth: Reliance Industries

Industry: Energy

Citizenship: India

Age: 55

15. Liliane Bettencourt

Net worth: $24.7 billion

YTD change: + $4.5 billion / + 22.1%

Source of wealth: L’Oreal

Industry: Manufacturing

Citizenship: France

Age: 90

16. Stefan Persson

Net worth: $24.7 billion

YTD change: + $2.9 billion / + 13.1%

Source of wealth: Hennes & Mauritz

Industry: Retail

Citizenship: Sweden

Age: 65

17. Jeff Bezos

Net worth: $24.2 billion

YTD change: + $7.6 / + 45.5%

Source of wealth: Amazon.com

Industry: Technology

Citizenship: U.S.

Age: 48

18. Bernard Arnault

Net worth: $24.1 billion

YTD change: + $3.4 billion / + 16.4%

Source of wealth: LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton

Industry: Retail

Citizenship: France

Age: 63

19. Larry Page

Net worth: $23.0 billion

YTD change: + $3.1 billion / + 15.9%

Source of wealth: Google

Industry: Technology

Citizenship: U.S.

Age: 39

20. Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud

Net worth: $22.9 billion

YTD change: + $5.6 billion / + 32.0%

Source of wealth: Kingdom Holding

Industry: Diversified

Citizenship: Saudi Arabia

Age: 57

21. David Thomson

Net worth: $22.9 billion

YTD change: + $1.3 billion / + 5.8%

Source of wealth: Thomson Reuters

Industry: Media

Citizenship: Canada

Age: 55

22. Sergey Brin

Net worth: $22.8 billion

YTD change: + $3.1 / + 15.7%

Source of wealth: Google

Industry: Technology

Citizenship: U.S.

Age: 39

23. Lee Shau Kee

Net worth: $22.7 billion

YTD change: + $6.1 billion / + 36.7%

Source of wealth: Henderson Land Development

Industry: Real Estate

Citizenship: Hong Kong

Age: 84

24. Karl Albrecht

Net worth: $22.7 billion

YTD change: – $0.20 billion / – 0.9%

Source of wealth: Aldi

Industry: Retail

Citizenship: Germany

Age: 92

25. Michele Ferrero

Net worth: $22.5 billion

YTD change: + $1.4 billion / + 6.4%

Source of wealth: Ferrero

Industry: Food and Beverage

Citizenship: Italy

Age: 87

26. George Soros

Net worth: $21.9 billion

YTD change: + $0.64 billion / + 3.0%

Source of wealth: Soros Fund Management

Industry: Finance

Citizenship: U.S.

Age: 82

27. Sheldon Adelson

Net worth: $21.3 billion

YTD change: + $1.4 billion / + 6.9%

Source of wealth: Las Vegas Sands

Industry: Service

Citizenship: U.S.

Age: 79

28. Eike Batista

Net worth: $20.4 billion

YTD change: – $2.1 billion / – 9.3%

Source of wealth: OGX Petroleo & Gas Participacoes

Industry: Energy

Citizenship: Brazil

Age: 56

29. Iris Fontbona

Net worth: $20.2 billion

YTD change: + $2.7 billion / + 15.8%

Source of wealth: Antofagasta

Industry: Metals and Mining

Citizenship: Chile

Age: n/a

30. Zong Qinghou

Net worth: $20.1 billion

YTD change: + $0.90 billion / + 4.7%

Source of wealth: Hangzhou Wahaha Group

Industry: Food and Beverage

Citizenship: China

Age: 67

31. John Mars

Net worth: $19.8 billion

YTD change: + $0.90 billion / + 4.8%

Source of wealth: Mars

Industry: Food and Beverage

Citizenship: U.S.

Age: 77

32. Forrest Mars Jr.

Net worth: $19.8 billion

YTD change: + $0.90 billion / + 4.8%

Source of wealth: Mars

Industry: Food and Beverage

Citizenship: U.S.

Age: 81

33. Jacqueline Mars

Net worth:    $19.8 billion

YTD change: + $0.90 billion / + 4.8%

Source of wealth: Mars

Industry: Food and Beverage

Citizenship: U.S.

Age: 72

34. Alberto Bailleres Gonzalez

Net worth: $19.5 billion

YTD change: + $2.4 billion / + 14.0%

Source of wealth: Industrias Peñoles

Industry: Metals and Mining

Citizenship: Mexico

Age: 81

35. Dieter Schwarz

Net worth: $19.3 billion

YTD change: – $0.72 billion / –3.6%

Source of wealth: Lidl

Industry: Retail

Citizenship: Germany

Age: 73

36. Gina Rinehart

Net worth: $19.1 billion

YTD change: – $1.1 billion / –5.4%

Source of wealth: Hancock Prospecting

Industry: Metals and Mining

Citizenship: Australia

Age: 58

37. Jorge Paulo Lemann

Net worth: $19.1 billion

YTD change: + $6.8 billion / + 54.9%

Source of wealth: Anheuser-Busch InBev

Industry: Finance

Citizenship: Brazil

Age: 73

38. Rinat Akhmetov

Net worth: $18.9 billion

YTD change: + $4.5 billion / + 31.5%

Source of wealth: Metinvest

Industry: Diversified

Citizenship: Ukraine

Age: 46

39. Cheng Yu-tung

Net worth: $18.7 billion

YTD change: – $1.5 billion / – 7.3%

Source of wealth: Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group

Industry: Retail

Citizenship: Hong Kong

Age: 87

40. Alisher Usmanov

Net worth: $18.0 billion

YTD change: + $0.66 billion / + 3.8%

Source of wealth: Metalloinvest

Industry: Diversified

Citizenship: Russia

Age: 59

41. Lakshmi Mittal

Net worth: $17.4 billion

YTD change: – $0.88 billion / – 4.8%

Source of wealth: ArcelorMittal

Industry: Metals and Mining

Citizenship: India

Age: 62

42. Leonid Mikhelson

Net worth: $16.9 billion

YTD change: + $0.11 billion / + 0.7%

Source of wealth: Novatek

Industry: Diversified

Citizenship: Russia

Age: 57

43. Viktor Vekselberg

Net worth: $16.8 billion

YTD change: + $2.8 billion / + 19.8%

Source of wealth: TNK-BP International

Industry: Energy

Citizenship: Russia

Age: 55

44. Vladimir Lisin

Net worth: $16.7 billion

YTD change: + $2.6 billion / + 18.5%

Source of wealth: Novolipetsk Steel

Industry: Metals and Mining

Citizenship: Russia

Age: 56

45. Luis Carlos Sarmiento

Net worth: $16.5 billion

YTD change: + $1.3 billion / + 8.8%

Source of wealth: Grupo Aval Acciones y Valores

Industry: Finance

Citizenship: Colombia

Age: 79

46. Carl Icahn

Net worth: $15.8 billion

YTD change: – $0.36 billion / – 2.2%

Source of wealth: Icahn Enterprises

Industry: Finance

Citizenship: U.S.

Age: 76

47. Azim Premji

Net worth: $15.5 billion

YTD change: – $0.52 billion / –3.2%

Source of wealth: Wipro

Industry: Technology

Citizenship: India

Age: 67

48. Alexey Mordashov

Net worth: $15.0 billion

YTD change: + $4.0 billion / 36.6%

Source of wealth: Severstal

Industry: Metals and Mining

Citizenship: Russia

Age: 47

49. Steve Ballmer

Net worth: $15.0 billion

YTD change: + $1.6 billion / 11.6%

Source of wealth: Microsoft

Industry: Technology

Citizenship: U.S.

Age: 56

50. Ernesto Bertarelli

Net worth: $14.8 billion

YTD change: + $2.5 billion / + 20.7%

Source of wealth: Serono

Industry: Medical

Citizenship: Switzerland

Age: 47

 Source: The World’s 200 Richest People (Bloomberg) 

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