Cover Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, speaks during the Satellite 2020 at the Washington Convention CenterMarch 9, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP)

The SpaceX entrepreneur soared to the top after Tesla's share price increased last week

The start of the new year has caused some shifts in the net worth of the world’s billionaires. The richest person in the world is now worth US$188.5 billion (S$250 billion) and he is none other than Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX.

The billionaire engineer received a boost after shares of his electric car company rose on January 7, allowing him to surpass Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Bezos has held the top spot since October 2017.

According to Forbes, Musk is now about US$5 billion ahead of Bezos; towards the end of 2020, he had overtaken Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and French conglomerate LVMH’s Bernard Arnault and eventually Bezos, to reach his current position. 

Tesla's share price had skyrocketed in 2020, rising to more than 720 per cent and being the main contributor in Musk's growing fortune. Forbes reported that Tesla’s stocks gained another 20 per cent within the first week of 2021.

Musk had tweeted “How strange,” after reports of his updated net worth were published. He later added: “Well, back to work.”

The tech CEO has famously said he has very little interest in material objects.

“About half my money is intended to help problems on Earth, and half to help establish a self-sustaining city on Mars to ensure continuation of life (of all species) in case Earth gets hit by a meteor like the dinosaurs or WW3 happens and we destroy ourselves,” Musk said in an old tweet.

Although electric vehicle sector is booming, especially with new players such as Nio and Xpeng from China, Tesla continues to dominate the market—and this is evident in the fact that Musk’s worth rose so rapidly in just one year.

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