While Amazon has been trying to figure out what is causing digital assistant Alexa to laugh unprompted, founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has been laughing all the way to the bank. His fortune climbed past $130 billion this week.
Bezos became $2.1 billion richer on Friday, pushing his net worth to $130.5 billion, as Amazon’s stock continues its relentless ascent. Shares have risen 5% in the past week and 85% in the last twelve months. That has quickly made Bezos the richest person on the planet and the first centi-billionaire in the Forbes Billionaire ranks.
The e-commerce king is followed by Bill Gates, the second richest man in the world, who became about $700 million richer on Friday. His net worth: $92.2 billion. Legendary investor Warren Buffett rounds out the top three, with a fortune estimated at $91.3 billion. His net worth swelled by $3.4 billion on Friday.
America’s technology titans also saw big gains heading into the weekend. Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin became $1.3 billion richer, to $53.5 billion and $52 billion, respectively. Meanwhile, the fortune of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg rose by $1.1 billion on Friday. He is the world’s fifth-richest person with a net worth of $74.6 billion.
The soaring stock markets have boded well for the world’s richest people, who typically have much of their net worth tied up in the publicly-traded companies they’ve founded or inherited. As a result, the bar is higher than ever to reach the upper echelons of the billionaires club. The minimum amount you need to crack the world’s top 20 richest people is now over $40 billion, a record. Even before today, this handful of billionaires were worth a cumulative $1.2 trillion, which is roughly equivalent to the annual economic output of Mexico, and controlled some 13% of the total wealth of the world’s billionaires.