The 20 Richest Tech Billionaires In 2021: Forbes

Despite many industries taking a financial hit as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, 20 tech and telecom executives cracked the top 75 of the richest people in the world this year.

The Top Of The Tech Industry

Forbes has released its 35th annual list of the richest people in the world. But this year was like no other, and the list reflected that fact. The number of billionaires boomed to an unprecedented 2,755 — that’s 660 more billionaires in the world compared to just one year ago. A record high 493 were brand new to the list, according to Forbes.

While billionaires aren’t immune to the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been driving down profits across many industries for the past year, this year’s list brought to light the companies that are seeing surging profits, despite the pandemic. One such example, unsurprisingly, is Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos who nabbed the No. 1 spot for the fourth year in a row, beating out Microsoft’s Bill Gates, who has been the richest person in the world for 18 years running. Amazon, led by Bezos, isn’t the only one doing well in the face of an economic downturn. This year, 20 tech and telecom executives cracked the top 75 of the richest people in the world overall.

Forbes’ list of the world’s richest people highlights estimated net worth, business successes and philanthropic efforts of the world’s wealthiest. What follows is a list of the top 20 tech billionaires in 2021, according to Forbes.

See the latest entry: The 20 Richest Tech Billionaires in the World: Forbes’ 2022 List

Lei Jun

Worth: $23 billion

Overall rank: #75

Lei is the co-founder and chairman of Xiaomi, one of the world’s most popular smartphone brands. Jun climbed to the 75th richest person in the world in 2021, up from 147th last year.

Zhang Zhidong

Worth: $23.4 billion

Overall rank: #73

Zhang, also known as “Tony,” served as CTO of Chinese gaming and social media giant Tencent for 16 years until he retired. Tencent’s portfolio includes League of Legends game developer Riot Games, and the company has minority stakes in Spotify and Snap Inc.

Shiv Nadar

Worth: $23.5 billion

Overall rank: #71

Billionaire industrialist and Indian IT pioneer Nadar co-founded HCL in a garage in 1976 to make calculators and microprocessors. The executive has been known for transforming his IT hardware company and constantly shifting his company’s focus.

Wang Xing

Worth: $26.1 billion

Overall rank: #60

Wang is the 32-year-old CEO and co-chair of Meituan-Dianping, a group created through a 2015 merger of Groupon-like group buying site Meituan and Yelp-like He jumped from No. 237 on last year’s Forbes billionaire list.

William Lei Ding

Worth: $33 billion

Overall rank: #45

Ding is the CEO of Netease, one of the world’s largest online and mobile games businesses. The company’s partners include Mojang, a subsidiary of Microsoft, and Blizzard Entertainment. Its main competitor is Chinese Internet giant Tencent. Ding’s profits jumped from $17 billion in 2020.

Zhang Yiming

Worth: $35.6 billion

Overall rank: #39

Zhang chairs Beijing ByteDance, one of China’s largest media content platforms that is said to be valued at $250 billion in private trades. ByteDance is most known for its social video app TikTok.

Michael Dell

Worth: $45.1 billion

Overall rank: #30

Michael Dell is the chairman and CEO of Dell Technologies, which was formed in 2016 when Dell merged with computer storage giant EMC. Dell is also known for his private investment firm MSD Capital, which has stakes in hotels and restaurants. Dell’s philanthropic foundation focuses on child poverty.

Masayoshi Son

Worth: $45.4 billion

Overall rank: 29

Son, whose profits rose significantly in 2021, founded and runs mobile telecom and investment giant SoftBank Group, which was the parent company of U.S.-based wireless giant Sprint before it was acquired by T-Mobile.

Jack Ma

Worth: $48.4 billion

Overall rank: #26

Ma, a former English teacher, co-founded one of the largest e-commerce platforms in the world, Alibaba Group. Last year, Ma stepped down as Alibaba’s executive chairman and was succeeded by Alibaba’s current CEO, Daniel Zhang. In 2020, Ma’s foundation donated millions of masks and other medical supplies to the U.S., Europe, and Africa to help battle the coronavirus crisis.

MacKenzie Scott

Worth: $53 billion

Overall rank: #22

Scott, a published author of two novels, was married to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos for 25 years until 2019. As part of the divorce settlement, Bezos transferred 25 percent of his Amazon stake to MacKenzie, which represented 4 percent of the company. Scott signed the Giving Pledge in 2019 which encourages extremely wealthy people to contribute a majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes and donated $1.7 billion to 119 nonprofit groups.

Colin Huang

Worth: $55.3 billion

Overall rank: #21

Colin Huang, who also goes by Huang Zheng, was chairman of online discounter Pinduoduo, one of China’s largest e-commerce sites. He stepped down in March to pursue research in food and life sciences. Zheng, a “serial entrepreneur” interned at Microsoft before starting his career at Google in the U.S. in 2004.

Carlos Slim Helu And Family

Worth: $62.8 billion

Overall rank: #16

Mexico’s richest man and self-made billionaire, Helu and his family control America Movil, Latin America’s biggest mobile telecom firm. Helu founded the Telmex Foundation, Carlos Slim Foundation and Historic Center of Mexico City Foundation.

Ma Huateng

Worth: $65.8 billion

Overall rank: #15

Ma Huateng (also known as Pony Ma) chairs Chinese Internet giant Tencent Holdings, which ranks among the nation’s largest businesses in terms of market cap. Tencent owns the popular messaging app, WeChat, which has more than 1 billion users. Huateng is now the richest man in China.

Steve Ballmer

Worth: $68.7 billion

Overall rank: #14

The leader of tech giant Microsoft from 2000-2014, Ballmer joined the company as employee number 30 in 1980. A philanthropist, Ballmer put more than $2 billion into a donor-advised fund with a focus on lifting Americans out of poverty. He and his wife, Connie, invested $25 million in 2020 to fight COVID-19.

Sergey Brin

Worth: $89 billion

Overall rank: #9

Brin’s profits grew significantly over the last year. He co-founded tech giant Google in 1998 with fellow Stanford Ph.D. student Larry Page. The executive stepped down as president of Alphabet, parent company of Google, in December 2019 but remains a controller shareholder and a board member.

Larry Page

Worth: $91.5 billion

Overall rank: #8

Google co-founder Page jumped from #13 to #8 on Forbes’ billionaire list. The executive stepped down as CEO of Alphabet, the parent of Google, in December 2019 but remains a board member and a controlling shareholder. Page is a founding investor in space exploration company Planetary Resources and is also funding flying car startups Kitty Hawk and Opener.

Larry Ellison

Worth: $93 billion

Overall rank: #7

Ellison is chairman, chief technology officer and co-founder of software giant Oracle, of which he owns about 35.4 percent. The longtime tech executive’s profits grew significantly over the last year, but Ellison slipped from the number 5 spot, to the 7th richest person in the world.

Mark Zuckerberg

Worth: $97 billion

Overall rank: #5

Zuckerberg this year moved up in the ranks to the fifth richest person in the world.

Facebook, the social network Zuckerberg runs, has become a go-to communications tool during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown. The platform has come under fire over the last year for failure to remove misinformation and inflammatory political posts.

Bill Gates

Worth: $124 billion

Overall rank: #4

The co-founder of Microsoft, Gates spent 18 years as the richest person in the world before being displaced in 2018. Gates and his wife Melinda are known for his philanthropic efforts. The Gates Foundation is the world’s largest private charitable foundation and in December, the Foundation made a $250 million donation that went towards funding for COVID-19 drugs and vaccines.

Jeff Bezos

Worth: $177 billion

Overall rank: #1

Bezos, who founded e-commerce giant Amazon in 1994 out of his garage in Seattle, took the top spot as the world’s richest person in 2021 for the fourth year in a row. The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a significant uptick in online shopping and has significantly driven up Amazon’s profits over the last year. The company’s cloud unit, Amazon Web Services, has benefitted from the world’s increased reliance on cloud computing to power the world’s online infrastructure during the pandemic. Bezos will step down as CEO and become executive chairman in late 2021.