Do you know how many centibillionaires there are in the world? Just three. Do you know who they are? Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg. Do you know what the word “centibillionaire” means? It means a person with US$100 billion ($100,000,000,000). In the past, it was hard to believe anyone could amass (accumulate) such wealth. That’s why the Oxford Dictionary doesn’t have this word. It has the word “centimillionaire”, which means a person with US$100 million ($100,000,000). It has the word “billionaire”, which means a person with US$1 billion ($1,000,000,000).
Now that there are three centibillionaires in the world, and I am sure there will be more in the future, Oxford Dictionary may have to include it as a word. Jeff Bezos was the world’s first centibillionaire. Bill Gates was the second. Mark Zuckerberg joined this super-rich club last week after Facebook’s shares shot through the roof on the news that the company will start a rival to the video-sharing app TikTok. The expression “shoot through the roof” or “go through the roof” means to increase very quickly to a very high level. People used to amass their wealth through old-fashioned businesses such as department stores, property development, and playing the stock market. Nowadays people amass wealth through high tech-business.
The well-known American investor Warren Buffett knows how to play the stock market well but his wealth is only about US$77 billion, making him the world’s fourth richest man. It is doubtful he can become a centibillionaire soon. But his nickname is the “Oracle of Omaha”. He was born in Omaha in the US state of Nebraska and still lives there. The word “oracle” used this way means an expert or a specialist in something who can give advice. As a stock market oracle, he may one day become a centibillionaire too. Now that there are three centibillionaires, will there be a trillionaire ($1,000,000,000,000) one day? That’s only one zero more than a centibillionaire but in actual amount it’s a lot more. Experts say there may be trillionaires in about 60 years.
現在，世上有三位千億美元富翁（centibillionaires），我肯定亦將陸續有來，牛津字典或要收錄這個字了。傑斯‧貝佐斯是世上第一位千億美元富翁（centibillionaire），比爾‧蓋茲是第二位。當上星期有消息指，臉書將會開始與影片分享程式TikTok較量後，公司的股價便暴漲（shot through the roof），馬克‧朱克伯格亦隨之躋身這個超級富豪俱樂部。習語“shoot through the roof”或“go through the roof”是指迅速飛漲至很高的水平。人們過往是透過傳統商業如百貨公司、地產發展以及炒股票來積累（amass）財富；今天，人們則透過高科技業務去積聚（amass）財富。
知名的美國投資者華倫‧巴菲特非常熟悉怎樣去投資股票市場，但他的身家也只有大概七百七十億美元，令他成為世上第四位最有錢的富豪。他能否很快晉身為千億美元富翁（centibillionaire）也是一個疑問。不過，他的暱稱是“Oracle of Omaha”。他生於美國內布加斯州的奧馬哈，現在還住在那裏；oracle在這裏的意思是能提供預測意見的專家或權威人士。身為股票市場的「先知」（oracle），他或許有天也能成為千億美元富翁（centibillionaire）呢。現在已有三位千億富翁（centibillionaires），不知可有一天，會有一位萬億富翁（trillionaire，$1,000,000,000,000）出現呢？雖然只是比千億富翁（centibillionaire）多一個零，但實際數目來說是要多許多錢。專家們說，大概六十年內，或許就會出現萬億富翁（trillionaires）了。
Michael Chugani 褚簡寧