It pays to be in fashion. At least that’s what Forbes shows in its annual world’s billionaire list. This year, stressed authors of ‘Forbes’ billionaires list, ten-figure fortunes surged in China, although the US still dominates the rankings with Bill Gates securing the top position for the 16th year in the past 21 years.
Being second just to technology, retail has much to offer when it comes to spurring the wealth. Thus, names such as Amancio Ortega from Zara (dropping 1 position from third to fourth), Bernard Arnault from LVMH (13th) or the Walton family from Wal-Mart – set as 8th,9th,11th and 12th richest as per Forbes’ ranking), are all well-known names in this billionaires list.
Looking globally, France’s Liliane Bettencourt, a principal shareholder in L’Oréal, is the second-richest executive in the sector with an estimated net worth of $40.1 billion. Nipping at Bettencourt’s heels is LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton chairman and ceo Bernard Arnault with $37.2 billion.
Kering’s François Pinault and family ($14.9 billion) and Chanel’s Alain and Gerard Wertheimer with $9.5 billion each follow. In fact, the fashion/ retail sector was the number-one driver of wealth in France as well as in Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the U.K.
China topped the new entries, not just generally but also in terms of apparel and fashion industries representation. Number 10 of newcomers is Chinese apparel tycoon Zhou Jianping with a net worth of 4.8 billion dollars, holding the 330 billionaires rank. Shen Ya, founder of Vipshop, entered the list as number 1,054.
Also from China, although much lower in the new billionaires entries (ranking 1,533th), were Ma Hong & family with a shared wealth worth 1.2 billion dollars; Zhu Chongyun & family – founders and owners of Shenzhen Marisfrolg Fashion, a privately-held women’s apparel retailer – held position 1,415 with 1.3 billion dollars net worth.
Notably missing from this year’s list was US fashion designer Michael Kors.
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