Zuckerberg passes Buffett on Bloomberg billionaires list

Scandal, what scandal? PLUS: Sole Kiwi on the list falls; China's Pony Ma adds to his New Zealand investments.
Graeme Hart – No 1 on NBR's Rich List 2017 – is the only Kiwi to make the cut.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg moves ahead of Warren Buffett for the first time in Bloomberg's list of the world's 500 richest people (see table below).

The social network's stock dipped earlier this year after it was revealed a researcher contracted by Cambridge Analytica had harvested data from not just people who took a pop quiz, but their friends and friends of friends.

But solid appearances before congressional committees by Mr Zuckerberg, plus some modest changes that kept users on board and surging first-quarter earnings soon saw its shares back on the up — increasing the Facebook founder's net worth by $US8.83 billion to $US81.6b in the process.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos remains at the top of the heap by a large margin — though helped by the fact Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has given away $US35b of his fortune and counting.

The only New Zealander on the list is NBR Rich Lister Graeme Hart, whose wealth is estimated at $US7.1b, down $US747 million for the year-to-date. Mr Hart's son, Harry, was recently in the news for his move on Hubbards, Hansells and Greggs.

Another NBR Rich Lister, Peter Thiel, who holds New Zealand, US and German passports, does not make the $US3.89b cut-off for Bloomberg's top 500 (NBR estimated Mr Thiel's wealth at $NZ3.7b last year, putting him at No 2 on our list behind Mr Hart).

Donald Trump does not make the cut, either. Forbes recently estimated the US president's wealth at $US3.1b, based on his inheritance from his father, real estate mogul Fred Trump, and his property holdings today (Mr Trump himself puts his wealth at above $US10b, without offering any breakdown).

The two highest Chinese billionaires on the list are Jack Ma, founder of the Nasdaq-listed Alibaba e-commerce platform (No 14 with a net worth of $US44.3b, down $US1.16b for the year) and Pony Ma, head of gaming outfit Tencent (No 19 with a wealth of $US39b, down $US2.01b for the year).

Tencent recently bought a majority stake in Auckland company Grinding Gear Games in a deal worth more than $100m.

That was Pony Ma's second major New Zealand play after Tencent's 2016 investment in Rocketwerks.

Source: Bloomberg. Read the full list here.