Money, People

10 richest people you’ve never heard of

Billionaires like Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jeff Bezos are constantly in the news for their business achievements and personal controversies. Their lives are well documented in their household names around the globe. But most of the world’s richest people prefer to live in the shadows, quietly cashing in while their businesses expand surreptitiously from luxury brands to tech juggernauts. Here are 10 of the richest people you’ve never heard of. 

10. Bernard Arnault 

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You may not have heard of this man but you’ve certainly seen his products supported by celebrities and ultra-wealthy clients all over the world. The luxury group he oversees LVMH is the parent company of brands like Louis Vuitton, Moet & Chandon, and Hennessy Cognac isn’t all controls about half of LVMH which has revenue of 42.6 billion euros in 2017 making him the richest man in France.

In addition to LVMH, Arnault sees further investment in holding vehicles. He has invested in Netflix and Blue Capital and also took a major stake in French food chain Carrefour. In addition, he has invested in and a variety of other online ventures. As well as buying princess yachts outright. 

He began his career working for his father’s manufacturing company. After five years of working for that company, he convinced his father to liquidate the construction division and enter the real estate market under the name Ferinal.

The new company initially developed specialty holiday accommodations. He was named a director of the company in 1974. He became chief executive in 1977. In 1979 he succeeded his father as president of the company. In 1984 Arnault acquired Financiere Agache, becoming chief executive and taking control of Boussac, a beleaguered textile company that owned among other assets. Such as Christian Dior, and the department store Bonmarche.

Arnault came to the luxury business building what would become the world’s largest luxury conglomerate. Over the next 11 years of LVMH value multiplied x15 over and sales and profit increased fivefold. His current net worth is $64.8 Billion.

9. Carlos Slim 

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Imagine if the grocery store, the cell phone provider, and the biggest national construction conglomerate were all owned by the same company. No matter where you shop you’re still supporting the same business. 

That’s essentially the situation in Mexico, where one of the world’s richest people Carlos Slim Helu resides. This 78 years old man has a net worth of $59.3 billion. From 2010-2013 he was the richest man in the world. He is not only the richest man in Mexico but in all of South America. His conglomerate includes education, healthcare, industrial manufacturing, transportation, real estate, media, energy, hospitality, entertainment, high technology, retail, sports, and financial services. He accounts for 40% of the listings on the Mexican Stock Exchange.

While his net worth is equivalent to about 6% of Mexico’s gross domestic product. Needless to mention that most of his business is done behind the scenes. Slim is a major player in the world economy.  

He was born in 1942 to a Mexican father and a Lebanese mother. From a young age, Slim was interested in both finance and engineering. He received a degree in mechanical engineering in 1961. 

He has stated that his mathematical ability and his background of linear programming was a key factor in helping him gain an edge in the business world. Especially when reading financial statements. From there he worked 14 hours days at the Mexican Stock Exchange. Eventually acquiring $400,000 dollars of his own money to invest across various sectors.

8. Amancio Ortega 

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Amancio Ortega is another figure who remains in the shadows. Although his products are ubiquitous he was the founder of Inditex which includes popular fashion chains such as Zara, Pull & Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Stradivarius, Oysho, and Uterque. 

As a youth in Coruna, northwest Spain Ortega gained an entry into the garment business by working as a delivery boy for a men’s shirt store. And as an assistant in a tailor shop. These jobs exposed him to the costs of manufacturing and delivering clothing directly to customers.

He later managed a clothing store that, like the men’s shirt store, catered to wealthy clientele. Ortega saw an opportunity to expand his client base by using less expensive materials and more efficient manufacturing systems and by competitively pricing garments. He first applied the approach to a bathrobe business, Confecciones Goa, which he founded in 1963.

He founded the first Zara ready-to-wear clothing store in A Coruna in 1975. It became not only an internationally famous chain but also the flagship of holding company Inditex which he founded 10 years later.

Notoriously private few people know much about Ortega. But from the tax records, it’s clear that he makes $400 million just from dividends every year. On top of his corporate profits, he is worth $56.6 billion.

7. Mukesh Ambani 

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Mukesh Ambani is the richest man in India. Also, he is the 18th richest person in the world. He was born in Yemen. He is the chairman and managing director of the Indian Conglomerate Reliance Industries Limited (RIL). It is the foremost company of the Indian energy and materials conglomerate reliance group. 

He is one of the four children of Dhirubhai Ambani who first worked as a gas station attendant. Ambani earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Bombay. Then he pursued a master’s degree in business administration from Stanford University. However, he left the program in 1981 to join the family business where he worked to diversify the company venturing into a vast array of areas including communications, Infrastructure, petrochemicals, petroleum refining, polyester fibers, and gas and oil production. 

In 2004 he was named one of the world’s most respected business leaders by the professional services firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers. He is renowned not only for his wealth but for having one of the most ostentatious houses in the world. The Antilla in South Mumbai is the most expensive privately-owned residence in the world with a valuation of over $2 billion. Some people have been critical of the residence as it’s placed in one of the poorest parts of Mumbai. Doesn’t seem to faze Ambani however as his net worth is just shy of $50 billion.

6. Sergey Brin

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This man co-founded the world’s most used website with Larry Paige in 1998. Yes, he is one of the masterminds behind Google. He now serves as the president of Google’s parent company, Alphabet.

Sergey was born in Moscow in 1973. He emigrated to the United States with his family from the Soviet Union at the age of 6. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Maryland College Park. Following his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps by studying mathematics as well as computer science. 

After graduation he enrolled in Stanford university to acquire a PhD in computer science. There he met Paige. They became friends. They crammed their dormitory room with inexpensive computers and applied Brin’s data mining system to build a web search engine. They called it Google after the mathematical term googol which is a 1 followed by 100 zeros to reflect their mission to organize all the information available on the web.

After raising one million dollars from family, friends, and other investors both of them launched the company in 1998. Their headquarters is in the heart of California, Silicon Valley. Google held its initial public offering in August 2004. That makes Brin and Paige billionaires.

Since then, Google has become the world’s most popular search engine receiving an average of more than a trillion searches a day in 2016. But, Brin is not a household name. He is the world’s 13th richest person with $49.9 billion in assets. 

5. Ma Huateng 

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Ma Huateng is also known as Pony Ma is the chairman of the Chinese internet giant, Tencent holdings. This company ranks among the nation’s largest businesses by market cap. Ma Huateng is the richest man in China according to Forbes world’s billionaire’s list. Ma’s net worth reportedly grew to $45 billion in March 2019 up from $25 billion, same time, 2018. 

This entrepreneur grew up in Southern China where his father worked as the manager of a major state-owned port.

After graduating from Shenzhen University with a degree in computer science in 1993 he landed a job, developing software for pagers. At that time China had just one computer for every 100 people. Still, Ma stayed in Shenzhen making $176 per month at his first job. As a result, he had a front-row seat to China’s tech boom in the mid-1990s.

Ma started his career as a programmer with CM Mobile. It is a telephone pager service company. That before founding Tencent. This experience was the cornerstone for his communication apps, QQ, and WeChat. WeChat became the most popular messaging app in China. It has more than 1 billion users with profits of 23.29 billion yuan or $3.7 billion. 

Ma is the 14th richest person in the world. He has a net worth around $42 billion.  

4. Hui Ka Yan

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Hui Ka Yan was born in 1958. He owns Evergrande Real Estate, a Hong Kong-listed real estate development company based in Guangzhou. With his enterprise, he is active in residential, commercial, and hotel property development. Evergrande group has more than 700 projects in more than 240 cities in China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen. In 2017 Evergrande real estate group achieved sales of 450 billion yuan.  

He was born in Tai Kahn County of China. He completed graduation from the Wuhan University of Science and Technology attaining a degree in metallurgy in the year 1982. He also served as a management professor of Wuhan since 2003. He earned an honorary Ph.D. in 2008 from the University of West Alabama. 

But the truth is that most of Yan’s business acumen was learned outside of the world of academia. He gained the majority of his knowledge in real-world settings. He is one of the top philanthropists in China. In 2011 he donated $62 million dollars, and also he received the national model worker honor by the State Department. 

However, $62 million dollars is a small percentage of his overall $33 billion fortune. 

3. Karl Albrecht 

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Karl Albrecht is the founder and owner of the popular German discount store, Aldi. According to Forbes, he is one of the wealthiest men in the world. He has an estimated net worth of $22.6 billion. He is the richest person in Germany and 4th wealthiest in all of Europe. 

He was born on February 20th, 1920 in Essen, Germany. His father was a miner and his mother owned a small grocery store in a suburb of Essen. He earned his fortune with his entrepreneurial skills and talent. 

His brother Theo worked alongside him, while he transformed his mother’s small grocery store which was situated in a corner into what it is today. 

The first Aldi store was launched in 1961. Today there are over 4000 Aldi outlets in Germany alone. And more than 8000 in France, Australia, Greece, Portugal, Great Britain, Spain, Switzerland, The US, and Poland. All these stores sell all kinds of products like skincare products, household items, and other all kinds of products.

The ownership of the store was split between the two brothers with Karl getting the more lucrative outlets of southern Germany and Theo being responsible for the Northern outlet and the rest of the stores in Europe. 

Karl was lucky to get the rights of the brand of the United Kingdom. The United States, and Australia. There is not much known about Karl because he never preferred to stay in the limelight. Especially after His brother Theo was kidnapped in 1971. It said that he is married and has two children. Neither of them is an employee of Aldi.

2. Leonardo Del Vecchio 

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This man was ranked 71st on the Forbes global fortune list. He is the second wealthiest man in Italy. He is the president and founder of the world’s leading company in the development, production, marketing, and distribution of glasses. The company is Luxottica. 

They make their own glasses. And they are the world’s leader in the eyeglasses industry. This self-made businessman owns a net worth of $11 billion. 

He comes from an impoverished background. His father is said to have died five months before he was born. As a result, his mother took him up to an orphanage because she was not able to support him on her own.

Living in the fashion capital of Milan, Del Vecchio, had the opportunity to apprentice with a tool and dye maker. After six years of experience, he felt prepared to break into the fashion world. 

In 1967, he made the decision to enter the glasses assembly business. Expanding his work he founded his own company Luxottica. 10 years later in 1976 Luxottica stopped making frames for other brands and launched its own eyewear brand. Using extensive research the brand went on to become the market leader. There was no looking back, his effective strategies helped in developing a successful sales network.

1. Abigail Johnson 

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She is widely considered to be the most powerful woman in investing. Abigail Johnson inherited Fidelity investments from her grandfather Edwin C Johnson the second. Little is known about her early life because like the rest of her family she likes to be discreet. 

In an interview with fortune, she describes her parents as happy well-adjusted people and stated that they inspired her to follow her passions just like they did. 

In terms of her education, she completed a bachelor’s degree in art history from Hobart and William Smith College back in 1984. But that didn’t serve her too well in the financial world. So he went on to get an MBA from Harvard Business school. Soon after graduating, she was hired into an executive position in the family business. 

Even though Fidelity has lost business to low-cost brokers like Vanguard and Charles Schwab. It still has more than $107 billion in assets and Johnson has a respectable $16.4 billion of her own. 

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