The founders of Web engine Google and "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling have made Forbes magazine's list of world billionaires in a year where booming stock markets fattened the bankrolls of the rich.
Rowling, once an unemployed single mother, saw her wealth rise to $1 billion after the publication of the latest "Harry Potter" novel and the success of the wizardly character as a movie franchise, the magazine said on Thursday.
And with Google becoming the Internet search engine of choice among the tech savvy, company founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page also saw their fortunes reach $1 billion apiece.
Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates was the world's richest man for the 10th year running, with a personal fortune of over $46 billion, but investor Warren Buffett was catching up. The world's mega-rich grew even richer over the past year as their stock portfolios swelled, catapulting the total number of billionaires to a record 587.
"After two years of significantly falling fortunes, we really saw an uptick for just about everyone on the list," Forbes Associate Editor Luisa Kroll told a news conference.
The total net worth of the world's billionaires added up to a staggering $1.9 trillion dollars, equal to almost one fifth of the giant U.S. economy.
News source: CNET News