The richest people you've never heard of
Takemitsu Takizaki, Japan
Takizaki is the founder and chairman of Keyence, a Japanese maker of laser sensors, code readers and other devices designed to help manufacturers automate production. The company is known for paying high salaries, averaging around $116,000 a year. Takizaki is a collector of fossils.
John Sall, United States
co-founded privately held software giant SAS in 1976 with James Goodnight. He currently serves as the company's executive vice president and oversees its JMP division, which makes statistical software that creates graphs from raw data. He contributed $2,300 last year to the presidential campaign of Sen. Barack Obama and co-sponsored an Obama fund-raising event in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Birgit Rausing and Family, Sweden
When her husband Gad Rausing died in 2000, Rausing and their three children inherited ownership of Swedish packaging giant Tetra Laval. All three children sit on the company's supervisory board, and son Jörn is the company's head of mergers and acquisitions. The family has kept a low profile following a kidnapping attempt on Jörn in 1989. Birgit lives quietly in Switzerland, while daughter Kirsten, a big horse enthusiast, lives in the U.K. Son Finn is chairman of the Swedish R.R. Institute of Applied Economics.
Li Sze Lim and Zhang Li, Hong Kong and China
$2.1 billion each
Li and Zhang co-founded Guangzhou R&F Properties in 1994. Today, the company is one of China's largest property developers. Li is the company's chairman, while Zhang is co-chairman and chief executive. The company listed its shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2005.
Vladimir Kim, Kazakhstan
Kim is executive chairman of copper producer Kazakhmys, which went public on the London Stock Exchange in 2005. At the time of the IPO, Kim held a 40% stake in the company, which he expanded to 46.5% in the following year when he bought the majority of the shares held by departing Chief Executive Yong Keu Cha. According to Forbes' calculations, Kazakhstan's Kim is the richest person in all of the post-Soviet republics outside of Russia. He has also amassed the largest fortune of any person of Korean descent, surpassing even the $2.9 billion net worth of Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-Hee.
Bradley Hughes, United States
Even if you've never heard of Hughes, there's a good chance you're familiar with the company he founded: Public Storage, the nation's largest self-storage company. Public Storage has about 2,100 locations in 38 states, extending its reach with its 2006 takeover of rival Shurgard for $5.5 billion. Hughes, who retired as the company's chief executive in 2002, remains chairman.