These entrepreneurs have welcomed mass success in their respective fields. So much so, that their net worths have soared well into the billions. Here are the top-paid people in the world as of the end of 2021, according to Forbes.
40. Li Ka-shing: $33.7 Billion
Known as one of Asia's most successful businessmen, Li Ka-shing is worth a whopping $33.7 billion, according to Forbes. He founded Cheung Kong plastics in 1950. Nicknamed "Superman" Li-Ka shing, he began his company at 21 with only $6,500 in savings and receiving loans from relatives. Talk about starting at the bottom!
Upon his retirement, Li Ka-Shing jokingly said he'd been "working for a long time, too long." Now his son, Victor, runs the company, which has over 300,000 employees and exists in over 50 nations. Not only did he start a billion-dollar conglomerate, but he founded a charitable organization, Li Ka Shing Foundation, in 1980.
39. Alain and Gerard Wertheimer: $34.5 Billion
We all know the French luxury brand Chanel, but do we know its story? Like who are the masterminds raking in the billions? Brothers Alain Wertheimer and Gerard Wertheimer currently own the company - with Gerad overseeing the watch division after their grandfather, Pierre Wertheimer, founded the company with Coco Chanel herself.
According to Forbes, the French billionaire businessmen are estimated at $34.5 billion. So what do the brothers do with all their dough lying around? Well, they own three vineyards, two in France and one in Napa Valley, and breed and race thoroughbreds. But the question we're all dying to know: do they wear Chanel?
38. Giovanni Ferrero: $35.1 Billion
Giovanni Ferrero holds the 38th spot on our Forbes billionaire list with a value of $35.1 billion as executive chairman for his family's confectionery company, Ferrero Group - the second biggest chocolate producer in the world! The firm is known for its Nutella chocolate-hazelnut spread, Tic Tac mints, and Kinder chocolate.
The Italian businessman believes that "attention to employees' needs, to their families, to their life even when they quit working, cements a social cohesion that is mutually beneficial." Clearly, they're doing something right over there, given how successful the firm is!
37. Zhang Yiming: $35.6 Billion
Ever wonder who developed TikTok? Well, we have this Chinese entrepreneur to thank for giving us one of the Internet's greatest gifts. Yiming founded ByteDance in 2012, one of China's most influential media content platforms, and later developed TikTok, originally known as Musical.ly. Where would be as a society without TikTok?
In 2013, Zhang scored a spot on Forbes China 30 Under 30 list and now holds the 37th spot on our list with an overall estimated net worth of $35.6 billion. Owning about 22% of ByteDance, most famously known for developing TikTok and news app Toutiao, Zhang is no longer CEO as of May 2021.
36. He Xiangjian: $37.7 Billion
Entrepreneur He Xiangjian is the co-founder of one of China's biggest appliance makers, Midea Group. Founded in 1968, Xiangjian developed his company by leading a group of 23 people from Beijiao in the Guangdong Province to form a lip production workshop which eventually became Midea.
Ranking at number 36 on the Forbes billionaires chart, with an overall estimated value of $37.7 billionaire, He Xiangjian built one of the largest electrical appliance manufacturers in the world. The billionaire stepped down from his role in operations in 2012, and his son, He Jianfeng, now is a director of the company.
35. Miriam Adelson: $38.2 Billion
Coming in at number 35 on the list is Miriam Adelson, widow of Sheldon Adelson, the former CEO and chairman of Las Vegas Sands, the casino company. According to Forbes, the Israeli billionaire is a medical doctor who specializes in addiction and is worth $38.2 billion.
Adelson owns more than half of the gambling empire (NBD), having casinos in Vegas, Macao, and Singapore. She and her late husband founded the Sheldon G. Adelson Research Clinic in Las Vegas, which treats people with drug addiction, and the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Clinic for drug abuse treatment and research in Israel.
34. Wang Wei: $39 Billion
Founded by Wang Wei in 1993, S.F. Holding or S.F. Express, also known as the "FedEx of China," is the second-largest courier in all of China. S.F. Express is a Chinese international delivery service, providing both domestic and international express delivery.
According to Forbes, after birthing this logistics empire, Wang Wei is currently valued at $39 billion. Despite his billions in the bank, Wei believes "a company's objective shouldn't be making money. I want to create a platform through which I can express my values and thoughts." That he did, but he also earned serious money!
33. David Thomson: $41.8 Billion
Following his father's death in 2006, David Thomson took over as chairman of the Thomson Corporation. In doing so, he also inherited a British title as the Baron Thomson of Fleet! Inheriting a billion-dollar company and a British title, sign us up, please!
The Thomson Corporation is one of the world's largest information, media, and publishing empires, initially established by his grandfather Roy Thomson. According to Forbes, as of June 2021, Thomson was the wealthiest person in all of Canada, giving him an overall net worth of $41.8 billion.
32. Francois Pinault: $42.3 Billion
According to Forbes, French billionaire businessman, Francois Pinault, has the multination corporation goods company, Kering, to thank for his $42.3 billion. Pinault is the honorary chairman of the luxury group and the founder of Artémis S.A., a holding company with a portfolio of investments in art, wine, and more.
The timber-trading company was founded in 1963 and currently manages a series of prestigious, renowned fashion houses, such as Gucci, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, and Bottega Veneta. Those are some major fashion houses! The company recently acquired the iconic U.S. eyewear brand Maui Jim to add to its portfolio.
31. Tadashi Yanai: $44.1 Billion
As of October 2021, Japanese billionaire businessman, Tadashi Yanai, was the wealthiest person in Japan. Yanai is both the founder and president of the innovative Tokyo-listed retail clothing empire Fast Retailing. Fast Retailing is the parent company of Uniqlo, the casual wear designer, manufacturer, and retailer.
Coming in at number 31, Tadashi Yanai is worth a whopping $44.1 billion. Yanai is renowned as a leader in the business of fashion. He told Monocle magazine, "I might look successful, but I've made many mistakes. People take their failures too seriously. You have to be positive and believe you will find success next time."
30. Michael Dell: $45.1 Billion
Michael Dell is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Dell Technologies. His empire was formed in 2016, after one of the world's rgest technology infrastructures, Dell and computer storage giant EMT linked up.
According to Forbes, his net worth places him as #30 of our top-paid businessmen. Over the years, the billionaire went through ups and downs, leading to where he is now. Dell explained, "I'm guilty of doing too much, and I'm guilty of not seeing mistakes coming. What I'm not guilty of is making the same mistake twice."
29. Masayoshi Son: $45.4 Billion
While his total earnings have since dipped, this billionaire boasted a net worth of $45.4 billion up until recently. Son reflected on his success: "as a student, I had a hobby of inventing new ideas for products. For me, thinking of new businesses is like inventing new products."
The product he created was SoftBank, a telecom and investment management giant. While it first started as a telecommunications company, the brand evolved into various new fields, like e-commerce and marketing. Currently, Son is the chairman and CEO of the Tokoyo based company.
28. Julia Koch: $46.4 Billion
In 2019, Julia Koch's husband sadly passed away at the age of 79. Following his passing, his widow and their three children each inherited a 42% stake in Koch Industries. This pushed Julia into being named the 28th top-paid person in the world in 2021, according to Forbes.
Before meeting her late husband, David, in 1991, Koch worked as an assistant to famous fashion designer Adolfo. During her time in this role, she was able to work with noteworthy individuals, including First lady Nancy Reagan. Currently, Koch is the president of the David H. Koch Foundation.
27. Charles Koch: $46.4 Billions
Charles Koch doesn't just serve as the CEO of Koch Industries - but also as the chairman for the largest privately-owned company in the United States. The billionaire has accumulated his wealth of $46.4 billion since he started the position back in 1967.
After spending numerous decades with the company, it comes as no surprise Koch knows what to do when it comes to business. He explained, "For business to survive over a long period, it needs to be contributing to society and people's well-being. Otherwise, who's going to want it?"
26. Jack Ma: $48.4 Billion
Before becoming a billionaire, Jack Ma was an English teacher at Hangzhou Dianzi University. He then went on to create a China-based business-to-business marketplace site, Alibaba Group Holding Limited. Today, his company is one of the largest e-commerce online businesses.
"My job is making money, helping other people make money," Ma explained. "I am spending money, trying to make sure more people get rich, because you cannot spend a lot of money, right? So my job is spending money, helping others. This is a headache."
25. Phil Knight: $49.9 Billion
After spending nearly 52 years working as the chairman for Nike, Phil Knight stepped down from the position back in 2016. The multi-billionaire continues to have funds coming in from the shoe giant brand, since he is the founder of it. According to Forbes, his net worth is a whopping $49.9 billion.
Now, what exactly is the key to all of his success? Not being afraid to reach out to ask for help when needed. "It is hard enough out there. Get all the help you can," Knight advised, "Getting help really is just a part of that lifelong search for wisdom."
24. Gautam Adani: $50.5 Billion
Based on the Forbes list of the World's Billionaires, Gautam Adani takes the 24th spot. The entrepreneur has achieved his impressive net worth of $50.5 billion by founding and running India's largest port operator, Adani Group. The company focuses on airport operations, port management, renewable energy, and more.
Adani Group probably wouldn't have been able to reach a revenue of $13 billion if it weren't for his determination. "Being an entrepreneur is my dream job as it tests one's tenacity," Adani explained why he chose this line of work. "I could never take orders from anyone."
23. Daniel Gilbert: $51.9 Billion
At the young age of 22, Daniel Gilbert started a company known as Quicken Loans with his brother Gary. Little did they know it would, later on, become one of the United States' largest mortgage lenders! As of 2020, the entrepreneur was the majority owner, holding 79% of the shares.
Gilbert believed that a successful company does more than just worry about the financial aspects - they care beyond that. "We are absolutely a more profitable (and better) business because we have a mission beyond the sole pursuit of profits," he explained.
22. Mackenzie Scott: $53 Billion
In 2019, Mackenzie Scott and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos finalized their divorce. After their split, Scott received 25% of her ex-husband's Amazon stake. The following year, she signed the Giving Pledge, meaning she would give away at least half of her wealth throughout her lifetime.
Mackenzie was one of the first people to ever work for Amazon. But even as she was helping Bezos build his empire, Scott focused on her own career as a published author. Her first debut book, The Testing of Luther Albright, was released in 2005. It went on to receive the American Book Award.
21. Colin Zheng Huang: $55.3 Billion
The founder and former chairman of one of China's largest agricultural platforms, Pinduoduo, is Colin Zheng Huang. The e-commerce website isn't the only business venture the entrepreneur sought out. Huang also created Ouku.com, another e-commerce giant, as well as an online game company, Xinyoudi.
Based on Forbes, he is the 21st top-paid billionaire. But, before his mass success, he was an intern working for Microsoft, both in Beijing and Seattle. He later moved on to be an employee at Google before becoming his own boss. "I got to learn how to manage and accept the status of being rich before I got rich," he noted.
20. Michael Bloomberg: $59 Billion
Up next on our ranked list is Michael Bloomberg, with a high net worth of $59 billion, according to Forbes. Back in 1981, the businessman started Bloomberg LP, a financial information and media company. Their revenge reached upwards of $10 billion, so it's no surprise the founder is very comfortable.
Bloomberg has advised that stepping out of one's comfort zone may help guide success. He explained, "Organizations resist innovation, and those that do inevitably fail because people are more comfortable with what they know than with what they don't."
19. Rob Walton: $59.5 Billion
Rob Walton is the oldest son of the late Sam Walton, the founder of the multinational retail corporation Walmart. Following his father's passing in 1992, Rob took over as the chairman of the company. While he stepped down from this position in 2015, he continued to be on Walmart's board.
Shared along with the other heirs of Sam Walton, Rob owns nearly half of the store's stock. Walmarts large revenue has helped Walton achieve a high net worth of $59.5 billion, making him the 19th top-paid billionaire, based on reports from Forbes.
18. Jim Walton: $60.2 Billion
Sam Walton's youngest son Jim, was named the 18th top-paid person by Forbes. He and his father's heirs all respectively share half of Walmart's stock, providing them each with millions of dollars. Jim's net worth has been estimated to reach a whopping $60.2 billion.
For almost 10 years, Jim sat on the board of Walmart before giving it up in 2016 and handing it over to his son, Steuart. It seems like they keep the business affairs in the family. Jim and his sister Alice have even started a program to help give $300 million in bonds to charter schools.
17. Alice Walton: $61.8 Billion
The only daughter of the late Walmart founder, Sam Walton, is Alice Walton. Although her brothers, Jim and Rob, spent their lives working with Walmart, she decided to go on a different career path. Alice concentrated on creating art, even opening up her own museum in 2011, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
Alice is a firm believer in staying true to one's own work. As the entrepreneur explained, "Commit to your business. Believe in it more than anybody else." And that's exactly what she did. And even though she wasn't working with her family's business, she was still entitled to half of Walmarts stock, as the heiress of Sam.
16. Carlos Slim Helu: $62.8 Billion
The 16th top-paid man ever and the top richest in Mexico, as reported by Forbes, is Carlos Slim Helu. He and his family are the owners of América Móvil, Latin America's largest telecom firm. In 1990, Helu expanded the company after he bought a stake in a phone company, Telmex.
His entrepreneurial ventures aren't all just in Mexico - he also owns nearly 17% of the New York Times! According to Helu, people shouldn't focus on what others have to say. He explained, "When you live for others' opinions, you are dead. I don't want to live thinking about how I'll be remembered."
15. Ma Huateng: $65.8 Billion
In 1998, Ma Huateng became the founder and chairman of Tencent Holdings - a Chinese company that provides various services such as social networking, e-commerce, and more. Their messaging app, named WeChat, is deemed quite popular, with nearly a billion users.
It's clear Huateng's business did well. In December of 2018, the holding company music streaming service, Tencent Music, was even listed on the New York Stock Exchange. His hard work has led the businessman to earn a high net worth of $65.8 billion, as valued by Forbes.
14. Steve Ballmer: $68.7 Billion
For nearly 14 years, Steve Ballmer was running Microsoft as the company's CEO. How did he receive this title? He was actually one of the first 30 employees to ever work with the technology corporation in 1980. Based on his work, it seemed like he was the perfect man for the job.
Ballmer continued to run the company through the first dot.com crash and even as Apple and Google were gaining popularity. "The number one benefit of information technology is that it empowers people to do what they want to do. It lets people be creative. It lets people be productive," he gushed over his line of work.
13. Zhong Shanshan: $68.9 Billion
Up next on our list of top-paid people in the world, we have Zhong Shanshan, who has an estimated net worth of $68.9 billion, according to Forbes. Before becoming a successful chairman for Nogfu Springs, a Chinese bottled water and beverage company, Shanshan had various jobs.
The businessman worked as a construction worker and a newspaper reporter. Then he finally became a beverage sales agent, which inspired him to open up his very own drink company. This goes to show that sometimes we must try different things until we stumble across the right project.
12. Francoise Bettencourt Meyers: $73.6 Billion
So far, this list has been dominated by men - but up next, we have the richest woman in the world. Francoise Bettencourt has a net worth of nearly $73.6 billion, as reported by Forbes. This comes as no surprise when we learn she is the granddaughter and heir of L'Oreal, a giant cosmetic company.
She officially became the heir of the makeup brand when her mother passed away in 2017. But she had been working with the brand for a while before this. Since 1997, Bettencourt served on L'Oreal's board and acted as the chairman of the holding company. She and the rest of the family even own 33% of the stock on L'Oreal.
11. Amancio Ortego: $77 Billion
The founder of one of the largest fast-fashion groups in the world, Inditex, is Amancio Ortego. In 1975, he and his late wife, Rosalia Mera, created the company, which is arguably best known for its fashion brand, Zara. But that's not all: Inditex operates 8 total brands, including Pull & Bear and Massimo Dutti!
Ortego owns around 60% of Inditex and has a net worth of $77 billion, as valued by Forbes. And while this makes him one of the top-paid people in the world, he prefers to keep his fame on the down-low. "In the street, I only want to be recognized by my family, my friends, and people I work with," he noted.
10. Mukesh Ambani: $84.5 Billion
Taking the next spot on our ranking of the world's wealthiest people is Mukesh Ambani, who prides himself in being the biggest shareholder of India's most valuable company. Sounds like a big deal to us! That title and other projects have led Ambani to a net worth of $84.5 billion, as listed by Forbes.
But in 2022, Mukesh doesn't think moolah is needed to succeed. "As long as you've got your courage of conviction, it works for you," he assured. "I think that the same applies, too, even where you don't, because in today's world, financial resources are the least important. The world has moved to the power of ideas."
9. Sergey Brin: $89 Billion
While we once didn't even have access to computers, nowadays it's hard to imagine a society without them. And a crucial part of the internet revolution was undoubtedly Google. So it should come as no surprise to see co-founder Sergey Brin is valued by Forbes at $89 billion.
But Brin is concerned with more than making - and keeping - his billions. "Obviously, everyone wants to be successful, but I want to be looked back on as being very innovative, very trusted and ethical and ultimately, making a big difference in the world," he said.
8. Larry Page: $91.5 Billion
Up next is the second co-founder of Google, Larry Page. According to Forbes, Mr. Page has a valued net worth of about $91.5 billion. Not too shabby! And much like his friend and fellow founder Sergey Brin, Page is focused on much more than that cash flow.
"My job as a leader is to make sure everybody in the company has great opportunities, and that they feel they're having a meaningful impact and are contributing to the good of society," Larry noted. "As a world, we're doing a better job of that. My goal is for Google to lead, not follow that." We love to hear it!
7. Larry Ellison: $93 Billion
Up next is the co-founder, executive chairman, CTO, and former CEO of Oracle Corporation. Larry Ellison boasts a net worth of $93 billion, per Forbes. But according to Larry, we shouldn't play by the rules if we want to get ahead. He said that being what some might call "a rebel" is what led to his billions.
"The most important aspect of my personality as far as determining my success goes has been my questioning conventional wisdom, doubting experts, and questioning authority," he revealed. "While that can be painful in your relationships with your parents and teachers, it's enormously useful in life."
6. Warren Buffett: $96 Billion
"It's far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price, than a fair company at a wonderful price," shared Warren Buffett, the king of investments. So it might be worthwhile to listen to his guy's advice. Forbes estimates his net worth to be around $96 billion.
And like other wealthy icons on this list, Buffett knows that good things take time - even for the wisest of us. "No matter how great the talent or efforts, some things just take time. You can't produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant," he hilariously - and accurately - said.
5. Mark Zuckerberg: $97 Billion
Mark Zuckerberg rose to fame as the co-founder of Facebook, the social media giant that changed the world as we knew it. So it's hardly surprising to see the man behind such a revolutionary brand on this list. According to Forbes, Zuckerberg sits on roughly $97 billion.
"There is a huge need and a huge opportunity to get everyone in the world connected, to give everyone a voice, and to help transform society for the future," Zuckerberg noted. "The scale of the technology and infrastructure that must be built is unprecedented, and we believe this is the most important problem we can focus on."
4. Bill Gates: $124 Billion
Up next is a name that might sound a bit familiar to some people. We joke, we joke. Taking the #4 spot is the one and only Bill Gates, with a net worth of $124 billion, according to Forbes. Mr. Gates founded Microsoft in 1975, and the rest, as they say, is history.
But Bill suggests people not let success get to their heads. "Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose," he said. But at this point, we'd argue the 66-year-old probably has too many billions in the bank to be concerned with losing.
3. Bernard Arnault: $150 Billion
Coming in hot with a net worth of $150 billion, per Forbes, is Bernard Arnault. The 72-year-old is a French businessman, art collector, and investor who currently serves as chief executive of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. No big deal (said no one ever).
Mr. Arnault's key to success? Patience. "I think in business, you have to learn to be patient," he explained. "Maybe I'm not very patient myself. But I think that I've learned the most is to be able to wait for something and get it when it's the right time."
2. Elon Musk: $151 Billion
Elon Musk once said, "I say something, and then it usually happens. Maybe not on schedule, but it usually happens." And we guess that's the kind of mentality that landed him our #2 spot, with a net worth of $151 billion, as listed by Forbes! But even this multi-billionaire knows that he doesn't always have all of the answers.
"I think it's very important to have a feedback loop, where you're constantly thinking about what you've done and how you could be doing it better," Elon detailed. "I think that's the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself."
1. Jeff Bezos: $177 Billion
Taking the #1 spot on our list of the world's top-paid billionaires is... Amazon founder and executive chairman Jeff Bezos. According to Forbes, the man of the hour has a whopping net worth of $177 billion. Bezos's secret to success? Minding his own damn business.
"If we can keep our competitors focused on us while we stay focused on the customer, ultimately we'll turn out all right," he said. "We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It's our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better."