French billionaires have made more money this year than their ultra-wealthy counterparts in any other country — and they partially have China to thank
  • The personal fortunes of French billionaires have grown at more than twice the pace of American and Chinese billionaires in the first half of 2019,Bloomberg found.
  • Growing Chinese demand for luxury goods has raised the share prices ofBernard Arnault’s LVMH, Francois Pinault’sKering, and Francoise Bettencourt Meyers’L’Oréal, adding to each of their fortunes.
  • France is also home to one of the world’s three centibillionaires — people who have a net worth over $100 billion.Bernard Arnault joined Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos in the exclusive club inJune 2019.
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It’s a good year to be a French billionaire.

The personal fortunes of French billionaires have grown at more than twice the pace of the fortunes of their American and Chinese counterparts in 2019,Bloomberg found. The collective net worths of the 14 French billionaires on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index have grown 35% since December 31, while the net worths of American and Chinese billionaires grew 17% and 15% respectively.

Chinese billionaires may not have enjoyed the success of their French counterparts, but they may have helped create it, according toBloomberg. Three of the 14 French citizens listed in Bloomberg’s list of the 500 wealthiest people in the world have made their fortunes from luxury cosmetics and goods. The sector is booming, largely thanks to increasing Chinese demand.

Shares ofLVMH, the luxury conglomerate headed byBernard Arnault, have jumped 47% in 2019, Markets Insider data shows.Kering, the parent company of Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent led by Francois Pinault, has seen its shares rise 29% since the start of the year. And shares ofL’Oréal, of which Francoise Bettencourt Meyers owns a third, are up 25% this year. As a result, Arnault, Pinault, and Bettencourt Meyers added $53 billion to their combined net worths in 2019,Bloomberg reported.

Read more: Bernard Arnault just joined Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates in the 3-person club of people worth more than $100 billion each. Here’s how the French billionaire makes and spends his fortune

Business Insider previouslyreported that Arnault became the world’s third centibillionaire, a person worth $100 billion or more, in June 2019. He’s the third person, along with Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, in the exclusive club.

The success of France’s billionaires follows a turbulent 2018. European billionaires ended the year $2.3 trillion poorer, a 7% drop in their collective net worth, according to Wealth-X’s2019 Billionaires Census. In 2018, billionaires in North America fared better than those on any other continent, seeing a 5.3% drop in their collective net worth.

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