Elon Musk has become the wealthiest person on the planet, surpassing Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, thanks to the continued rise in Tesla’s stock price. Musk is now worth around $188 billion, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index.
A 4.8% rise in Tesla’s share price was enough to push Musk into the top spot according to the Bloomberg billionaires index, which tracks the daily changes in the fortunes of the world’s 500 wealthiest people. The 49-year-old entrepreneur’s net worth hit $186bn (£136bn) at 10.15am in New York on Wednesday, making him $1.5bn richer than Bezos, who had held the top spot since October 2017.
Musk eclipsing Bezos’ own extravagant personal wealth of around $187 billion marks the latest development in a years long rivalry between the two tech magnate, one that often centers on the accomplishments of their respective businesses. Bezos was reportedly so envious of Musk’s success in securing a $1.3 billion incentive package for Tesla’s Gigafactory in Nevada that it served as the genesis for Amazon’s beauty pageant-style search for its second headquarters. Bezos has a spaceflight company in Blue Origin much like Musk does with SpaceX. The two men have traded barbs about their rockets and even fought over hallowed NASA real estate. (SpaceX won that fight and is the only of the two companies to successfully reach orbit.)
Musk responded to the news of his status as the world’s richest person with tweets stating “how strange” and “well, back to work”. Musk said he intended to use half of his fortune 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 & we destroy ourselves”.
In a series of tweets that the South African-born billionaire pinned to the top of his timeline, Musk said the reason why he wants lots of money was “not what you think”. He said he had “very little time for recreation” and doesn’t have “vacation homes or yachts or anything like that”.
It is less than two months since Musk, who helped found Tesla just 17 years ago, surpassed Microsoft founder Bill Gates to become the world’s second richest person. Tesla’s share price has risen by more than sevenfold this year as demand for electric cars soared and governments announced further measures to wean the world off internal combustion engines.