The world's billionaires are now worth $8 trillion

Wang Jianlin (L), chairman of the Dalian Wanda Group, shakes hands with Jack Ma, executive chairman of Alibaba Group last April.
ChinaFotoPress | Getty Images

The world's billionaires are now worth $8 trillion, greater than the GDPs of Germany and France combined.

According to the latest Hurun Global Rich List, published by the China-based Hurun Report research unit, there are now 2,257 billionaires in the world — up 3 percent from last year.

Their combined fortunes jumped 16 percent over 2016, to the equivalent of 11 percent of the world's annual GDP. Their wealth was also larger than every country's individual GDP, other than the U.S. and China.

"Billionaires are concentrating wealth at a supercharged rate," Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun Report's chairman and chief researcher, said in a statement.

Indeed, the number of billionaires has exploded over the past five years, rocketing 55 percent higher. Because much of the world's wealth is hidden or difficult to find, the actual number of billionaires may be closer to 5,000, Hoogewerf said.

"While some billionaires go to extraordinary lengths to conceal their wealth, for the most part it is that they are discreet and prefer operating under the radar," he said.

China once again led the U.S. in the sheer number of billionaires, 609 to 552. China added 41 net new billionaires last year, while the U.S. netted an additional 17. (Forbes says the U.S. still has more billionaires, due to different methodologies and information). Combined, the two countries account for half the billionaires on the planet, according to Hurun.

While Bill Gates and Warren Buffett still hold the top spots with $81 billion and $78 billion respectively, Amazon's Jeff Bezos is closing in fast. Hurun said his net worth jumped 37 percent last year to $72 billion.

The richest man in China is businessman Wang Jianlin and his family, worth $30 billion, followed by Alibaba's Jack Ma and family at $29 billion, Hurun said.

Two-thirds of the world's billionaires are self-made rather than inherited, according to the report.