According to the list published this year by Forbes magazine, there are already 1645 billionaires on the planet, (one billion understood to be a thousand million US$), with a total accumulated fortune of more than more than 6 trillion, (million millions). There are many new faces. The owners of Facebook, Amazon or Bloomberg didn’t appear on the 2004 list and back then, half of them were American and there wasn’t anyone Chinese.
However, amongst the world’s 100 richest people in 2014, 37% are from the USA, 19% are from the European Union and 9% are from China, (including Hong Kong). If the concentration of world capital in a few hands continues to grow at current rates, then we will have the first trillionaire within 25 to 30 years.
Evolution of the total number of billionaires on the Forbes list and the sum of all their fortunes
In position number 55 of the world ranking, is the richest man in China, Wang Jianlin, majority shareholder of the Dalian Wanda Group conglomerate. This company is already one of the greatest real estate companies in the world, with more than 17 million sq. metres of residential, commercial and leisure properties. During just the first 6 months of 2014, 720 million people visited a Wanda shopping mall.
Wanda project currently under construction in Beijing
On the other hand, one of the most important economic phenomena in the last decade, has been the Internet conquest of commercial activity. 10 years ago it was still strange to buy something on the Internet. Whereas, it is predicted that 20-25% of worldwide purchases will be carried out in this way in 2016.
In the west, brands such as Amazon, eBay or PayPal are very familiar, but relatively little attention has been paid to the great Asian names. Such as Alibaba, which controls 80% of e-commerce in China, already in itself one of the largest world markets. Its recent listing on the stock market has been one history’s greatest IPOs, raising almost 22 billion $. This implies exceeding previous IPOs, such as those of banks, oil and telecommunication companies, or even those for Facebook, General Motors or VISA.
In the face of this step taken by Alibaba, Wang Jianlin has created an alliance with two other Chinese billionaires: Robin Li, 56 on Forbes’ list, is the CEO of Baidu, the largest search engine in China; and Ma Huateng, 65 on Forbes’ list, is the CEO of Tencent, the largest technological company in Asia, supplier of all types of services for mobiles.
Li, Jianglin and Huateng sealing the deal in Shenzhen, (29th August 2014)
They’ve joined together to launch the largest O2O (online to online) platform, which will allow customers to search for products on their smartphones and then compare them physically in any of the 107 shopping malls of the Wanda group, and also in its cinemas, hotels and resorts, as Wanda is focusing heavily on expanding in the leisure sector.
Will Wang Jianlin be the first trillionaire in history?