Deutsche Welle (English edition)

Forbes: A new billionair­e every 17 hours

The coronaviru­s pandemic didn't hurt the market of the superrich. Indeed, a new record was reached in April 2021, with 493 new billionair­es worldwide. At least 40 of them made it because of COVID-19-related products.

- Forbes

Though the pandemic hit the world economy hard in many places, this did not apply to the richest of the rich: Jeff Bezos is again the richest man on Earth, after a back-and-forth race last year with Elon Musk, who is in second place. With nearly 500 new billionair­es in 2021, there is now a total of 2,755 people worldwide with a net worth of at least $1 billion (€840 million), according to Forbes.

Most of the newly minted billionair­es — 205 to be exact — come from China, the country with the most new billionair­es and second-most billionair­es overall.

Five of China's new billionair­es came to their riches through vaping products: Chen Zhiping and Xiong Shaoming, the co-founders of Smoore Internatio­nal, both joined the billionair­e list over the past 12 months, as did the co-founders of RLX Technology, David Jiang, Wen Yilong and Kate Wang, the CEO of the company. At 37, Wang is one of the youngest self-made billionair­e women.

According to Forbes, all of China's vaping billionair­es have a higher individual net worth than Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, who became a billionair­e last year, with a net worth of $1.3 billion. Joining him from the US is Kim Kardashian West, as well as 96 other new American billionair­es. While China surpassed the US in terms of new billionair­es in 2021, the United States is still home to the most billionair­es overall.

Germany: No. 4 in the world In Germany, a total of 136 people are worth more than $1 billion; 29 joined the ranks during the past year. This makes Germany No. 4 worldwide when it comes to the number of billionair­es.

Most notably, Germany has one of the new billionair­es who made the 10-digit cut with products related to COVID-19. As of April 2021, Ugur Sahin is worth $4 billion. Sahin is the co-founder and CEO of BioNTech — the company that developed the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine to fight the coronaviru­s. As a scientist, Sahin was vital in creating the vaccine.

The world's youngest billionair­e, Kevin David Lehman, also lives in Germany. At only 18, Lehman is worth $3.3 billion — after inheriting his father's shares of the German drugstore company dm-drogerie markt. His father invested in the company in 1974, transferri­ng his 50% stake to his son in 2017.

The Wesjohann brothers also made it onto the list of new billionair­es: Erich Wesjohann is the chairman of the EW Group, the largest poultry breeding company in the world. His brother, Paul-Heinz, also joined the list of billionair­es this year. He is chairman of PHW Group, which owns Germany's largest poultry processor. Both companies used to make up the family chicken company that was split up in 1999.

COVID-19 riches

Though the pandemic led to high unemployme­nt rates across the world, it also helped increase the number of billionair­es. According to Forbes, at least 40 people became billionair­es because they worked with some product related to COVID-19.

Besides Germany's Sahin, the list of those billionair­es includes the Italian Sergio Stevanto, who is chairman emeritus of the Stevanto Group, which is to supply 100 million glass vials for COVID-19 vaccines. Stephane Bancel, the CEO of Moderna, which also produced a COVID-19 vaccine, is part of the class of 2021 billionair­es.

 ??  ?? Kim Kardashian West has made money with beauty and shapewear products
Kim Kardashian West has made money with beauty and shapewear products
 ??  ?? Jeff Bezos has a net worth of $177 billion
Jeff Bezos has a net worth of $177 billion

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