China’s President Xi is Forbes’ most powerful person

China’s President Xi is named Forbes’ most powerful person, ending Putin’s four-year reign at the top and pushing Trump down to third

  • Vladimir Putin is no longer considered the most powerful person in the world
  • French President Emmanuel Macron enters the list for the first time at 12th place
  • Theresa May, however, dropped one place to 14th from last year’s list 
  • She was bettered by Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, placed 13th

He rules Russia with an iron fist, but Vladimir Putin has suffered a significant knock-back when it comes to world domination after being usurped by his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, who is now considered the most powerful person on Earth.

Despite Putin topping every Forbes’ list of the world’s most powerful people since 2013, the controversial leader has been relegated to second place after being pipped by Xi.

Forbes said the Chinese president had seized the ‘top spot for the first time ever after China’s congress amended its constitution in March, broadening his influence and eliminating term limits. 

‘He enjoys a cult of personality not seen since Chairman Mao.’    

Chinese president Xi Jinping ‘enjoys a cult of personality not seen since Chairman Mao’ according to business magazine Forbes, which describes him as the most powerful person in the world for 2018

No longer the most powerful person in the world: Russian president Vladimir Putin is now in second place in Forbes’ annual list, behind Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping

He has seen ‘limited success’ one year into his term, so Forbes has dropped Donald Trump from second place into third

This year’s list, which shows 75 men and women ‘who make the world turn’, has also pushed American president from second to third place. 

Forbes explained that just one year into his term, Donald Trump ‘has seen limited success pushing his agenda through a Congress controlled by his own party, is under investigation by multiple law enforcement agencies, and can’t shake off scandals arising from his personal and business life.’

And languishing in 14th place is Prime Minister Theresa May, who dropped one position from her 13th slot in the previous year’s ranking, and is five positions down from the 8th position given to her predecessor David Cameron in 2015. 

Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany and de facto leader of Europe, is named as the fourth most powerful person in the world

Explaining Mrs May’s ranking, Forbes said that after her decision to hold a snap election ‘backfired’, she had to ‘guide her country through this bumpy transition government with no time to waste’ before Brexit in 2019.

Well ahead of her is Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany and the de facto leader of Europe, named as the fourth most powerful person in the world.

She won the accolade after her success in a ‘hard-fought election in 2017 and created a grand coalition with political partners. She’ll have to hold tight to the EU rudder as it faces oncoming storms from Brexit and growing anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe,’ suggests the business magazine.

Also placed above Mrs May were Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, 5th, Pope Francis (6th), Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates (7th), Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (9th), Google founder Larry Page (10th) and Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg (13th).

While this year’s list highlights the ‘consolidation of power in the hands of an elite few’, there are also 17 new names including Mohammed Bin Salman Al Saud (8th place), the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, known as “MBS”. 

In 14th place, Prime Minister Theresa May, seen here in the House of Commons, has to ‘guide her country through this bumpy transition government with no time to waste’ before Brexit in 2019, said Forbes

Pope Francis, aged 81, took 6th place, ahead of Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg in the annual list, which determines whether candidates are powerful in ‘multiple spheres’

He has consolidated power and, aside from taking control of the country, launched an anti-corruption campaign in November 2017 which resulted in the arrest of many prominent Saudis, who were forced to turn over their fortunes.

‘The crown prince will be the fulcrum around which the Middle Eastern geopolitics moves for the next generation,’ said Forbes. 

So how does the magazine compile its annual list? It looked at hundreds of candidates, and asked whether they had power over lots of people. Pope Francis, for example, who is ranked sixth, is the spiritual leader of more than a billion Catholics. 

Doug McMillon, in 23rd place, is the CEO of the world’s largest private employer, Wal-Mart Stores, with more than 2.3 million workers around the globe.

Forbes then assessed the financial resources controlled by each person. Are they relatively large compared to their peers? For heads of state it used GDP, while for CEOs, the magazine looked at the company’s assets and revenues.

American entrepreneur Jeff Bezos, 54, is founder and chief executive officer of He was placed fifth in Forbes’ list, ahead of British Prime Minister Theresa May

‘Then we determined if the candidate is powerful in multiple spheres. There are only 75 slots on our list – one for approximately every 100 million people on the planet– so being powerful in just one area is often not enough. 

‘Our picks project their influence in myriad ways: Elon Musk (ranked 25th) has power in the auto business through Tesla Motors, in the aerospace industry through SpaceX, because he’s a billionaire, and because he’s a highly respected tech visionary’, Forbes explained.

Lastly, it made sure that candidates ‘actively’ use their power. North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un (in 36th place) has near absolute control over the lives of the 25 million people who live in his country, and is known to punish dissent with death.

Individual rankings were averaged into a composite score: ‘This year’s list comes at a time of rapid and profound change, and represents our best guess about who will matter in the year to come,’ Forbes added. 

Forbes’ full list of the world’s most powerful people 2018: 

 1. Xi Jinping, 64, China

2. Vladimir Putin, 65, Russia

3. Donald Trump, 71, United States

4. Angela Merkel, 63, Germany

5. Jeff Bezos, 54,

6. Pope Francis, 81, Roman Catholic Church

7. Bill Gates, 62, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

8. Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, 32, Saudi Arabia

9. Narendra Modi, 67, India

10. Larry Page, 45, Google

11. Jerome H. Powell, 65, United States

12. Emmanuel Macron, 40, France

13. Mark Zuckerberg, 33, Facebook

14. Theresa May, 61, United Kingdom

15. Li Keqiang, 62, China

16. Warren Buffett, 87, Berkshire Hathaway

17. Ali Hoseini-Khamenei, 78, Iran

18. Mario Draghi, 70, European Central Bank

19. Jamie Dimon, 62, JPMorgan Chase

20. Carlos Slim Helu, 78, America Movil SAB de CV (ADR)

21. Jack Ma, 53, Alibaba Group

22. Christine Lagarde, 62, International Monetary Fund

23. Doug McMillon, 51, Wal-Mart Stores

24. Tim Cook, 57, Apple

25. Elon Musk, 46, Tesla 

 26. Benjamin Netanyahu, 68, Israel

27. Ma Huateng, 46, Tencent Holdings

28. Larry Fink, 65, BlackRock

29. Akio Toyoda, 62, Toyota Motor

30. John L. Flannery, 56, General Electric

31. Antonio Guterres, 69, United Nations

32. Mukesh Ambani, 61, Reliance Industries Ltd

33. Jean-Claude Juncker, 63, European Union

34. Darren Woods, 53, ExxonMobil

35. Sergey Brin, 44, Alphabet

36. Kim Jong-un, 34, North Korea

37. Charles Koch, 82, Koch Industries

38. Shinzo Abe, 63, Japan

39. Rupert Murdoch, 87, News Corp

40. Satya Nadella, 50, Microsoft

41. Jim Yong Kim, 58, World Bank

42. Stephen Schwarzman, 71, Blackstone Group

 43. Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, 70, United Arab Emirates

44. Haruhiko Kuroda, 73, Japan

45. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, 63, Egypt

46. Li Ka-shing, 89, CK Hutchinson Holdings

47. Lloyd Blankfein, 63, Goldman Sachs Group

48. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, 64, Turkey

49. Bob Iger, 67, Walt Disney

50. Michel Temer, 77, Brazil

 51. Michael Bloomberg, 76, Bloomberg

52. Wang Jianlin, 63, Dalian Wanda Group

53. Mary Barra, 56, General Motors

54. Moon Jae-in, 65, South Korea

55. Masayoshi Son, 60, Softbank Corp.

56. Bernard Arnault, 69, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton

57. Justin Trudeau, 46, Canada

58. Robin Li, 49, Baidu

59. Michael Dell, 53, Dell

60. Hui Ka Yan, 59, Evergrande Real Estate Group

61. Lee Hsien Loong, 66, Singapore

62. Bashar al-Assad, 52, Syria

63. John Roberts, 63, United States

64. Enrique Pena Nieto, 51, Mexico

 65. Ken Griffin, 49, Citadel LLC

66. Aliko Dangote, 61, Dangote Company

67. Mike Pence, 58, United States

68. Qamar Javed Bajwa, 57, Pakistan

69. Rodrigo Duterte, 73, Philippines

70. Abigail Johnson, 56, Fidelity Investments

71. Reed Hastings, 57, Netflix

72. Robert Mueller, 73, United States

73. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, 46, United States

74. Joko Widodo, 56, Indonesia

75. Gianni Infantino, 48, FIFA  

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