A tiny European country's only billionaire built his fortune on dental products - and now he's worth 50% of the entire nation's GDP
- Christoph Zeller is Liechtenstein's only billionaire, according to Forbes.
- The 62-year-old billionaire, who made his fortune in dental products, is worth $3.1 billion.
- That's half of the tiny European country's $6.2 billion GDP.
- Zeller spent 13 years as the CEO of Ivoclar Vivadent AG, a dental products company that brought in $818 million in sales in 2018.
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Zeller's is worth an estimated $3.1 billion, according to Forbes, a fortune derived from dental products. The 62-year old billionaire is the former CEO and now a supervising board member of Ivoclar Vivadent AG, a Liechtenstein-based dental products company that brought in about $818 million in sales in 2018.
Liechtenstein's gross domestic product (GDP) is about $6.2 billion, meaning the nation's only billionaire is worth half of his entire country's GDP.
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Ivoclar Vivadent was founded in 1923 to produce artificial teeth, and today it employs 3,505 people in offices in 25 countries and production facilities in Liechtenstein, Austria, Italy, the US, and the Philippines.
Zeller's grandfather, Dr. Adolph Schneider, bought the company in 1948 and Zeller served as CEO from 1990 to 2003, according to Forbes. Little is known about Zeller's personal life except that he lives in Vaduz, which is the capital of Liechtenstein but is home to only about 5,450 people.
Liechtenstein is a tiny country of about 62 square miles - more than eight times smaller than Los Angeles. Despite its diminutive size, Liechtenstein has a thriving economy and the second-highest per capita GDP in the world - $165,028 - after Monaco. It's one of a handful of countries that claims to have zero national debt. Its diverse economy is focused on manufacturing, the financial industry, and the services industry.
And it's not alone in having only one billionaire. At least 12 other countries, including Iceland, Portugal, and Qatar, are home to just one individual with a net worth of at least $1 billion. Most of the world's billionaires live in the US, China, Germany, Russia, and the UK.
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