As might be expected, this year's list of the world's wealthiest 200 includes a fair few Americans and numerous fortunes built on IT. The five richest men in the world - Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Paul Allen, Steve Ballmer and Philip Anschutz - are all American. Two are Microsoft employees.
In the past year, the fortunes of the world's wealthiest 200 have grown at an unprecedented rate. Otherwise unknown internet companies have become formidable gold mines in no time at all. The best example of this is Jay Walker, who founded priceline.com only a year ago. The company is now worth $10.2 billion. It is no surprise then that these new internet stars are so prominent in this year's list. Sceptics, of course, believe that the fortunes could vanish as quickly as they appeared.