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Zuckerberg tops Buffett to become world's third-richest person

Mr Zuckerberg, 34, is now worth US$81.6 billion.

New York

FACEBOOK Inc co-founder Mark Zuckerberg has overtaken Warren Buffett as the world's third-richest person, further solidifying technology as the most robust creator of wealth.

Mr Zuckerberg, who trails only Inc founder Jeff Bezos and Microsoft Corp co-founder Bill Gates, eclipsed Mr Buffett on Friday as Facebook shares climbed 2.4 per cent, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

It is the first time that the three wealthiest people on the ranking made their fortunes from technology.

Mr Zuckerberg, 34, is now worth US$81.6 billion, about US$373 million more than Mr Buffett, the 87-year-old chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

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Mr Zuckerberg's ascent has been driven by investors' continued embrace of Facebook, the social network giant that shook off the fallout from a data-privacy crisis that hammered its shares, sending them to an eight-month low of US$152.22 on March 27. The stock closed on Friday at a record US$203.23.

Technology fortunes make up about a fifth of the more than US$5 trillion in wealth tracked by the Bloomberg index, more than any other sector. The ranking, which tracks the world's 500 richest people, is updated after the close of each trading day in New York.

Mr Buffett, once the world's wealthiest person, is sliding in the ranking thanks to his charitable giving, which he kicked off in earnest in 2006. He has donated about 290 million Berkshire Hathaway Class B shares to charities, most of it to Mr Gates's foundation. Those shares are now worth more than US$50 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Mr Zuckerberg has pledged to give away 99 per cent of his Facebook stock in his lifetime. BLOOMBERG

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