April 20, 2021

The 500 richest people in the world saw their multi-billion dollar fortunes increase by 25%, collectively, in 2019, but 12 people did way better than that. Increasing demand for luxury goods from Chinese consumers fueled the growth of fortunes of Francois Pinault, Bernard Arnault, and Francoise Bettencourt Meyers. Microsoft saw a surge in the price of its stock, giving its two largest shareholders, Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, a more than $10 billion increase each in 2019. And finally, despite the continuing issues at and negative press about Facebook, its stock also saw huge growth in 2019 to the advantage of Mark Zuckerberg.

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Let’s take a look at the 12 billionaires who made the most money in 2019.

#12. Francois Pinault

Net Worth: $34 billion

2019 Increase: $12.08 billion

Pinault is one of three French luxury goods moguls who saw their net worths grow substantially in 2019, thanks to the increased demand from consumers in China for luxury goods. Pinault and his family have a 41% stake in Gucci, Yves St. Laurent, Alexander Wang, and Stella McCartney through holding company Kering.

#11. Francoise Bettencourt Meyers

Net Worth: $54 billion

2019 Increase: $13.1 billion

Bettencourt Meyers became the wealthiest woman in the world when she inherited a third of L’Oréal, after her mother died in September 2017. Shares of the world’s largest cosmetics company were up 30.8% in 2019.

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Sergey Brin and Larry Page (Photo by Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images)

#10. Sergey Brin

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Net Worth: $54 billion

2019 Increase: $13.4 billion

Google co-founder Brin saw his net worth rise thanks to the surge in the company’s stock price in 2019, even as he stepped down from his position as parent company Alphabet’s president.

#9. Larry Page

Net Worth: $58 billion

2019 Increase: $14 billion

Google co-founder Page also saw his net worth increase exponentially thanks to the company’s rising share price. He also stepped down as CEO of Alphabet this past year.

#8. Mukesh Ambani

Net Worth: $50 billion

2019 Increase: $15.2 billion

India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, has his stake in his company Reliance Industries to thank for the more than $15 billion he added to his net worth last year.

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#7. Amancio Ortega

Net Worth: $64 billion

2019 Increase: $17.9 billion

Zara founder Ortega saw record sales for his upscale fast-fashion chain in the first half of 2019, helping him grow his fortune by nearly $18 billion.

#6. Steve Ballmer

Net Worth: $45 billion

2019 Increase: $19.9 billion

Former Microsoft CEO Ballmer saw his net worth grow by nearly $20 billion thanks to the software giant’s increased dividend, the launch of a $40 billion share buyback program, and the growth of its cloud computing division.

#5. Bill Gates

Net Worth: $107 billion

2019 Increase: $23.1 billion

Microsoft founder and world’s richest man, Bill Gates, also saw his fortune grow thanks to his company’s stock surge.

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#4. Mark Zuckerberg

Net Worth: $50 billion

2019 Increase: $27.4 billion

Even though Facebook spent most of 2019 battling controversies over its political advertising, monitoring of hate speech and use of personal data, that didn’t stop its founder from adding more than $27 billion to his net worth.

#3. MacKenzie Bezos

Net Worth: $37 billion

2019 Increase: $37 billion

MacKenzie Bezos instantly became one of the richest women in the world when her divorce from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos became final.

#2. Bernard Arnault

Net Worth: $106 billion

2019 Increase: $37.7 billion

In October, Arnault, who runs French luxury goods conglomerate LVMH, saw his net worth increase by $5.1 billion in 48 hours thanks to a surge in the company’s stock price. He is the world’s second-richest person.

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#1. Julia Flesher Koch

Net Worth: $41 billion

2019 Increase: $ 41 billion

Julia Flesher Koch instantly became a multi-billionaire in her own right when her husband David Koch died in August.

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