Number Of Billionaires Continues To Grow

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    The world’s billionaires are now worth $8 trillion, greater than the GDPs of Germany and France combined, says the ‘Hurun Global Rich List,’ published by the China-based Hurun Report research unit. It says there are now 2,257 billionaires in the world ‒ up three per cent from last year. Their combined fortunes jumped 16 per cent over 2016, to the equivalent of 11 per cent of the world’s annual GDP. Their wealth was also larger than every country’s individual GDP, other than the U.S. and China. The number of billionaires has exploded over the past five years, rocketing 55 per cent higher. Because much of the world’s wealth is hidden or difficult to find, the actual number of billionaires may be closer to 5,000, says Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun Report’s chairman and chief researcher. The report says China once again led the U.S. in the sheer number of billionaires, 609 to 552. China added 41 net new billionaires last year, while the U.S. netted an additional 17. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett still hold the top spots with $81 billion and $78 billion respectively. Two-thirds of the world’s billionaires are self-made rather than inherited, it says.