Elon Musk, the charismatic chief of electric automaker Tesla, has overtaken Bill Gates to become the world’s second richest person, according to the Bloomberg list of billionaires.
The South African-born 49-year-old added US$7.2 billion in wealth last week alone following Tesla’s latest surge. He now has an estimated US$128 billion.
The outspoken Musk, who is also cofounder of SpaceX, had already overtaken numerous luminaries in recent weeks, including Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg and Bernard Arnault, the head of French luxury giant LVMH. Now the only person he stands behind is Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, whose wealth is estimated at US$182 billion.
The upheaval of the coronavirus pandemic has allowed the ultra-rich to amass even more wealth as technology companies have gobbled up more market share of the economy.
In 2020, Tesla shares have surged more than 500% and the company is now valued at more than US$500 billion. Musk, who owns about 18% of the shares, has made some US$100 billion during this stretch.
Tesla shares have gained further since the presidential election of Joe Biden, who favors more aggressive policies to address climate change. Tesla was also boosted by an announcement that it is being added to the prestigious S&P 500 index.
Tesla produces far fewer cars than traditional manufacturers, but is clearly favoured by markets: giants General Motors and Ford are worth only US$66.5 billion and US$37.5 billion respectively on the stock exchange.
It was also recently announced that Musk plans to build the world’s largest battery-cell factory at the group’s electric car plant near Berlin.
Source: AFP Relax News