- Of the nearly 7.5 billion people on the planet, Forbes has identified the one person out of every 100 million whose actions mean the most.
Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, seizes the top spot on Forbes’ 2018 ranking of The World’s 75 Most Powerful People for the first time ever. China’s congress amended its constitution in March, broadening Xi’s influence and eliminating term limits. Russian President Vladimir Putin (No. 2) has been knocked out of the top spot, a title that he held for four consecutive years. A little over one year into his term, President Donald Trump falls to the No. 3 spot.
Newcomers to the list include Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, Crown Prince, Saudi Arabia (No. 8), who has risen to power and will be the fulcrum around which the region’s geopolitics move for the next generation; Jerome H. Powell, Chair, Federal Reserve (No. 11); Emmanuel Macron, President, France (No. 12), who is pivoting France toward the world’s capitalist stage; Jean-Claude Juncker, President, European Commission (No. 33); Michel Temer, President, Brazil (No. 50); Moon Jae-In, President, South Korea (No. 54); Hui Ka Yan, Chair, China Evergrande (No. 60); Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister, Singapore (No. 61); Ken Griffin, Founder, Citadel (No. 65); Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff, Pakistan (No. 68); Reed Hastings, Cofounder, Netflix (No. 71); and Robert Mueller, Special Counsel, Justice Department (No. 72), who has already indicted several of President Trump’s associates and can make or break the Trump administration.
“This year’s ranking of The World’s Most Powerful People highlights the consolidation of power in the hands of an elite few,” said Forbes Contributing Editor David Ewalt. “China’s Xi Jinping ranks in first place for the first time, unseating Vladimir Putin, who held the top spot for four consecutive years. This also makes President Trump only No. 3 on the list, which is unprecedented only a year into his term.”
Angela Merkel, Chancellor, Germany (No. 4), remains the world’s most powerful woman. Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud is now the youngest person on the list, a title formerly held by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg(No. 13). Bernard Arnault, Chairman, LVMH (No. 56) returns to the list thanks to swelling revenues at his fashion house Louis Vuitton.
Four factors were taken into account to select each of the World’s Most Powerful People: how many people over whom they have power; the financial resources they control; if they have influence in more than one sphere; and how actively they wield their power to change the world.