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A business magnate, sometimes referred to as a mogul, tycoon, baron, oligarch, or industrialist, is a partially informal term used to refer to a person who has reached a prominent place in a particular industry (or set of industries) and whose wealth has been derived primarily therefrom.


Such people usually amass substantial fortunes in the process, and tend to become widely known in connection with their business(es) or through other pursuits such as philanthropy. The terms "mogul", "tycoon" and "baron" were often attributed to late 19th and early 20th century North American business magnates in extractive industries such as mining, logging and petroleum, transportation fields such as shipping and railroad, and manufacturing: this includes steelmaking, banking, and newspaper publishing. This era was known as the Second Industrial Revolution or the Gilded Age.

Examples of well-known business magnates include Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Group, utility and transportation magnate Samuel Insull, newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst of the Hearst Corporation, oil magnate John D. Rockefeller of Standard Oil, software magnate Bill Gates of Microsoft, steel magnate Andrew Carnegie,Lakshmi Mittal of Mittal Steel Company, sustainable/renewable energy magnate Hadley Barrett, and poultry magnate Frank Perdue of Perdue Farms.

In Russiamarker and some other post-Soviet countries, the term "business oligarch" has become popular.


The word tycoon is derived from the Japanese word , itself borrowed from the Chinese 太君 dai kwan, which means "great lord," and it was used as a title for the shogun. The word entered the English language in the nineteenth century with the return of Commodore Perry to the United States. U.S. President Abraham Lincoln was humorously referred to as the Tycoon by his aides John Nicolay and John Hay. The term spread to the business community, where it has been used ever since.

The word mogul refers to the Mughal Empire (mughal being Persian or Arabic for "Mongol") of Indian Subcontinent that existed between 1526 and 1857: the early Mughal emperors claimed a heritage dating back to Mongol ruler Genghis Khan. The modern meaning of the word is supposedly derived from the storied riches of the Mughal emperors, which for example produced the Taj Mahalmarker.

The word magnate itself derives from the Latin word magnates (plural of magnas), meaning "great person" or "great nobleman."

As the term industrialist (from Latin industria, "diligence, industriousness") was more widely used in the context of "old world" physical industries such as steel, oil, newspapers, shipping and rail transport, it has largely been superseded by the other, more modern terms that encompass a wider range of virtual business and commercial activity.

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