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Forbes Billionaire's list: the European factor

The continent has become the lifestyle hub of the global economy.
Euro billionairesEnlarge
European wealth, its all about lifestyle and fashion as Europe's richest man, LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault can attest. That's him in the suit at a recent fashion show in Paris. (Pascal Le Segretain/AFP/Getty Images)

The Forbes annual billionaire list may be no more than a conversation starter, but what it says about Europe is clear. This is not a place where industrialists or inventors, people who build traditional businesses, become super-rich.

Instead, it is the place where aggregators and creators of retail experiences prosper. Europe's two billionaires in the top five are France's Bernard Arnault, chairman of luxury goods firm, LVMH, worth $41 billion, and Spain's Amancio Ortega owner of the global retail outlet Zara, worth $37.5 billion.

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The other Europeans in the top ten are Sweden's Stefan Persson, chairman of cheap chic clothing chain H & M, and Germany's Karl Albrecht, whose Aldi chain of discount supermarket operates on both sides of the Atlantic.

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