Billionaires



March 6, 2019,   12:13 PM

The World’s Youngest Billionaires In 2019: Meet The 71 Under Age 40

Kathleen Chaykowski

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Mark Zuckerberg is still the world's richest person under the age of 40. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Of the 2,153 billionaires on Forbes’ 2019 list of the world’s richest, a record 71 members make up an even more select group—the under-40 set. Of this young group, there are 21 newcomers from 18 countries, and 2 are returnees.  

More than half—41—are self-made billionaires. Of these young entrepreneurs, 30 minted a fortune in the tech industry, followed by 7in fashion & retail and 7 in real estate.

Of the 41 self-made under 40, all are men except Kylie Jenner, founder of Kylie Cosmetics, who makes her debut this year as the youngest self-made billionaire ever. The remaining 14 female billionaires under 40 inherited their fortunes.

Jenner, age 21, is also the youngest billionaire on Earth, displacing Norwegian heiresses Alexandra Andresen, 22, and her sister Katharina, 23, who had been the youngest billionaires on the Forbes list for three consecutive years and are now second and third youngest.

Jenner displaces John Collison, 28, as the youngest self-made billionaire. He cofounded payments company Stripe with his older brother Patrick Collison, who is 30. John is now the next-youngest self-made billionaire after Jenner. Stripe’s fundraising round in September 2018 valued the company at $20.25 billion, boosting the brothers’ net worth to $2.1 billion each, up from $1 billion a piece a year ago. John Collison is just a few months younger than Snap cofounder and CEO Evan Spiegel, whose net worth has fallen to $2.1 billion, down from $4.1 billion last year in the wake of waning user growth and stiff competition from increasingly popular social media apps such as Instagram and TikTok.

One notable under-40 newcomer: James Monsees, who just makes it at age 39; he is cofounder of the controversial and rapidly growing nicotine vaping company Juul Labs with Adam Bowen, age 43. Monsees and Bowen became billionaires in late 2018 when big tobacco firm Altria acquired a stake that valued the e-cigarette company at $38 billion. Each cofounder owns an estimated 1.75% of Juul and has netted an additional estimated $500 million from sales of their shares over time.

Another newcomer to the under-40 class has a cryptocurrency fortune. China’s Jihan Wu, age 33, owns just over 20% of cryptocurrency mining chip firm Bitmain, which he cofounded and runs as co-CEO; Forbes pegs his fortune at $1.5 billion. The Beijing-based company is planning an initial public offering, according to leaked pre-IPO investor decks. In 2013, Wu, who graduated from Peking University in 2009 with a dual degree in economics and psychology, approached his cofounder Micree Zhan, who owns nearly 37% of the company and has expertise in chip design, about building Bitmain together. Zhan, age 40, just misses the under-40 cut but is a new member of the billionaires list.

The richest under-40 billionaire is once again Mark Zuckerberg by a wide margin. With a $62.3 billion fortune, he is worth nearly three times as much as the next youngest on the list. Though Facebook’s public image took a beating in 2018, most of the $8.7 billion drop in the 34-year-old’s net worth since last year was due to gifts and sales of his social media firm’s shares, which funds the entrepreneur’s philanthropic and advocacy vehicle, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

Next richest after Zuckerberg is Yang Huiyan, age 37, a Chinese citizen worth $22.1 billion. Yang inherited 57% of real estate developer Country Garden Holdings from her father, Yeung Kwok Keung, in 2007. The Ohio State University grad also chairs Bright Scholar Education Holdings, a Chinese operator of K-12 schools that went public on the New York Stock Exchange in 2017.

In all, the 71 youngest billionaires in the world are worth a collective $299 billion, up from $265 billion last year when we found 63 under 40. Of those on both years’ lists, 17 are richer, while 24 are poorer. Forbes used stock prices and exchange rates from February 8, 2019 to calculate net worths.



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