The richest person in the world leaves centibillionaires like Microsoft’s Bill Gates, LVMH’s Bernard Arnault, and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg in the dust

We last reported in July that Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, had beat his own record for the richest person alive—amassing a fortune of an estimated US$172 billion, according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Now, the tech entrepreneur has grown his fortune further, becoming the first person ever to be worth US$200 billion. As Amazon stock edged up two per cent on Wednesday, Bezos was estimated to be worth US$205 billion at market close that day. His net worth is currently US$199.2 billion as of August 28.

As e-commerce became a primary mode of consumerism amidst the coronavirus, Amazon, which is the world's largest online marketplace, saw its stocks skyrocket by nearly 80 per cent since the beginning of the year. The tech giant is also a major player in AI assistantslive-streaming and cloud computing—counting voice assistant Alexa, Kindle, Audible, Twitch, Amazon Music and Prime Video amongst its notable products.

With the rise of Amazon, Bezos has also seen an upsurge of his net worth, which was estimated to be US$115 billion on January 1. His 11 per cent stake in the company makes up for more than 90 per cent of his fortune.

In fact, Bezos may have been even richer if not for his high-profile divorce with ex-wife MacKenzie Scott, which resulted in the most expensive divorce settlement in history. Scott acquired a four per cent stake in Amazon, which is estimated to be worth US$63 billion. After giving away nearly US$1.7 billion to 119 non-profit groups, the published author is still the 15th richest person in the world, with a net worth of US$64.4 billion today.

Other sources of wealth for Bezos include Blue Origin, a human spaceflight startup company that he founded in 2000; and The Washington Post, a leading American daily newspaper which Bezos acquired in 2013.

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(FILES) In this file photo dated September 6, 2012 Jeff Bezos, CEO of AMAZON, during a press conference in Santa Monica, California.  The commercial space race got a little more crowded September 15, 2015 when the aerospace company Blue Origin, headed by founder Jeff Bezos, said it will begin launching from Cape Canaveral, Florida, later this decade. After losing a bid in 2013 to lease a historic launch pad -- where US moon missions lifted off in the 1960s and 1970s -- to rival SpaceX, Blue Origi
Above (Image: AFP)

Most notably, Blue Origin is currently competing with SpaceX and Dynetics to build a lunar landing system for Nasa with its Blue Moon lander, a concept which the spaceflight provider unveiled in 2019.

A sum of US$1 billion was reportedly awarded to each of the companies for the project in May, with Nasa selecting the winning team for advanced testing after 10 months. The program would see Nasa sending its astronauts to the Moon in 2024.

Personal investments made through the entrepreneur’s venture capital firm, Bezos Expedition, also contribute to his wealth. Bezos was one of the first shareholders in Google, with an investment of US$250,000 in 1998 that was estimated to be worth US$3.1 billion in 2017.

Bezos’ total net worth puts him more than US$80 billion ahead of the world’s second-richest person and also its first-ever centibillionaire—Bill Gates. The co-founder of Microsoft surpassed US$100 billion in net worth at the software company’s peak in 1999, which would be roughly US$158 billion today. Gates is currently worth US$116.9 billion.

Trailing behind Bezos and Gates is Bernard Arnault, chairman and CEO of LVMH. The world’s largest luxury goods company that counts Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Moët & Chandon and Tiffany & Co amongst its best-known brands. Arnault was reported to have briefly surpassed Bezos as the world’s richest in December 2019 and once again in January. Today, he is the third-richest in the world, with a net worth of US$114.4 billion.

Finally, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg entered the ranks of Bezos, Gates and Arnault as the youngest and newest centibillionaire as of Tuesday, with a net worth of US $103.1 billion. His wealth has since risen to US$107.6 billion today. Zuckerberg is followed closely by Tesla and SpaceX’s Elon Musk, who could very well be the next centibillionaire. Musk is currently worth US$98.7 billion.

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