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Eight men as rich as half the world

China Daily | Updated: 2017-01-18 11:18

The eight individuals who own as much as half of the rest of the planet are all men, and have largely made their fortunes in technology.

The eight individuals who own as much as half of the rest of the planet are all men, and have largely made their fortunes in technology. Most are US citizens, with one European and one Mexican in the mix. Several have pledged to give it all to charity.

The eight tycoons' net worth, as calculated by Forbes magazine, was cited on Monday by anti-poverty activists Oxfam in a report highlighting income inequality. Although most of them will not be joining the annual meeting of business and political elites in the Swiss town of Davos this week, the extraordinary individual wealth they typify will be part of the gathering's discussions on inequality.

Here's a look at who they are.

Bill Gates

The man whose name is a byword for "billionaire". Gates cofounded Microsoft in the mid-70s, growing it into the world's biggest software company and helping to make computers household items. He quit as CEO in 2000 and pledged to devote his fortune to his philanthropic activities in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He's the only one on the list who's a regular at Davos.

Amancio Ortega

The richest person in Europe, Ortega opened the first Zara fashion shop in 1975. Now, the chain, part of Ortega's Inditex group, has 7,000 shops globally. Its boom in popularity is largely due to a low-cost model that competes with the likes of H& M. As Zara and Inditex grew in size, Ortega, a Spaniard, held on to a majority stake of 59 percent in the company.

Warren Buffett

The Oracle of Omaha, as he's known for the way his every investment decision is followed by thousands. Buffett began investing as a teenager in the 1940s and gradually grew his firm, Berkshire Hathaway. Buffett, 86, is notoriously frugal and favors investing in companies with proven business models over new industries, such as technology.

Carlos Slim

The Mexican tycoon owes his fortune to major ownership of America Movil. He was ranked as the richest person three years ago. US President-elect Donald Trump's threats to scrap free trade deals hurt shares in Slim's business interests. Forbes estimates his net worth dropped $5 billion in the four days after Trump's election.

Jeff Bezos

The founder and CEO of Amazon helped revolutionize the retail industry by popularizing online shopping. What was initially an online bookstore now sells pretty much anything. He has bought The Washington Post.

Mark Zuckerberg

He founded Facebook in 2004 while a college student to connect other Harvard students. The company went on to become popular globally and listed its shares publicly in 2012, making Zuckerberg, now 32, a multibillionaire. He and his wife have pledged to sell 99 percent of their holdings in Facebook, more than 400 million shares worth about $50 billion, to support philanthropic causes.

Larry Ellison

As a young programmer in the 1970s, Ellison's first big client was the CIA. The name of the project was "Oracle". In 1977, Ellison and associates used that name for their company, which creates software that helps manage databases and has since become an industry standard. Ellison has recently focused more on cloud computing, in which data is stored and managed across a network of computers.

Michael Bloomberg

Created the eponymous financial information provider in 1981 after getting laid off from an investment bank. Bloomberg made it a lucrative business, in particular by selling data terminals to financial services firms. Bloomberg turned to politics in 2001, becoming mayor of New York City for three terms.

Associated Press

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