Want to join the planet’s most exclusive club? Better start saving: This year it takes a fortune of $18.1 billion to get past the doorman. In total the world’s 50 richest people are worth an aggregate $1.6 trillion, up 8 percent from 12 months ago. Bill Gates, with a fortune of $79.2 billion, remains the richest man in the world, a spot he has held 16 times since first attaining that ranking in 1995.
The most prominent newcomer to this upper echelon? China’s Jack Ma, who vaulted into the ranks after Alibaba’s boffo September IPO lifted his net worth by 127 percent. Two of his countrymen, Wang Jianlin and Li Hejun, are new to the top 50 as well. The club’s youngest member is Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who has built a $33 billion fortune by age 30; the richest woman is Walmart heiress Christy Walton, worth $41.7 billion.
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(This story appears in the 17 April, 2015 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)