Manny Stul, 68, amassed a fortune of $1.8billion and made his debut onto the Forbes billionaire's list thanks to his wildly successful toy empire
The man behind the Shopkins toy craze Manny Stul has joined the elite Forbes billionarie's club this year after his net worth cracked the $1.8billion (US$1.4 billion) mark.
Mr Stul joined the ranks of the richest Australians including Gina Rinehart and James Packer, his net worth making him the 1,468th most wealthy person in the world and 24th in Australia.
Shopkins is a global phenomenon which Mr Stul acquired when he bought Moose Toys in 2001.
They are miniature collectible dolls which come with accessories, names and back stories - and children around the world are obsessed.
The figurines have made the 68-year-old a very wealthy man - and even others too.
One Shopkins doll sold on eBay for $21,500 and collectors are forking out thousands for other one-of-a-kind characters.
The collectible toys have won the hearts of children around the world who adore the cute characters
The company's colourful and collectable Shopkins toys - which are basically tiny models of supermarket products with cute faces and accessories - have proved a massive hit with young children in more than 80 countries.
Mr Stul made his debut on the Forbes list with 194 other newcomers, more than 60 per cent of whom hailed from Asia or the Asia Pacific.
Overall, the total number of billionaires jumped by 233 to a record 2,043 while their combined fortunes swelled by nearly a fifth to a record $US7.67 trillion.
Shopkins has surpassed iconic toy brands such as Lego and even Barbie in popularity
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Moose Toys also creates the wildly popular toy brands Betty Spaghetty, Little Live Pets, Mighty Beanz and Aqua Sand.
Shopkins toys are becoming more in-demand than Barbie Dolls and Bratz Dolls, and are sold for much lower prices.
A pack of 10 mini Shopkins characters sell for $14.75.
Stul's fortune is even more impressive when it is compared to his humble beginning in life.
The billionaire was born in a refugee camp during World War II to his Polish parents who had escaped the Holocaust in 1949.
He dropped out of school and became a labourer before buying a business which would conquer the world's toy market.
Stul bought the struggling Moose Toys in 2001 and turned it into a multi-million dollar empire. Its head office is based in Cheltenham, Melbourne.
Topping the rich list this year again was Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who lined his pockets with $86billion (AUD$111billion) from his computer software giant.
Collectors of Shopkins toys are willing to pay thousands online for one-of-a-kind characters
Gina Rinehart's mining profits propelled her to number 69 on the coveted rich list.
Ms Rinehart's $19bn net worth makes her the richest Australian, and the mining tycoon's personal wealth has been calculated as more than twice the gross domestic product of Cambodia.
Forbes said out of the 227 women on the list, Ms Rinehart had enjoyed the best year after her fortune nearly doubled, pushing her up the rankings to 69th spot from 127th a year ago.
'Unlike all the other women ahead of her, Rinehart also has bragging rights for actively building her fortune,' Forbes said.
Mining mogul Gina Rinehart is Australia's richest person with a $19bn fortune to her name
'Rinehart took her late father's bankrupted estate and rebuilt it into something much larger. Her massive Roy Hill project, a world-class iron ore mine in Western Australia, has shipped 30 million tons of iron ore in its first 14 months of production.'
Just four other women were among the 33 Australians on the list, including sisters Fiona Geminder and Heloise Waislitz who hold large stakes in their family's packaging business Visy.
Seven Network founder Kerry Stokes returned to the list after a surge in the value of his shares in his media, mining and construction company Seven Group Holdings.
Meanwhile, casino tycoon James Packer had about half a billion dollars sliced off his fortune while Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar - the 37-year-old co-founders of software group Atlassian - were the youngest Aussies on the list.
Nearly a fifth of the 33 Australian billionaires were aged over 70, including Westfield founder Frank Lowy and Linfox boss Lindsay Fox.