Business / Business News

Cheryl Kahla
Deputy Online News Editor
2 minute read
3 Aug 2021
9:15 am

Jeff Bezos is no longer the richest person on the planet

Cheryl Kahla

Bezos lost $13.9 billion (approximately R200 billion) in one day.

Pictures: Graphic designed by with credits to AFP/Joe Raedle and Christophe Archambault

Business magnate and billionaire Jeff Bezos lost his “richest person on the planet” title when his net worth dropped by more than $13.9 billion (R200 billion) in one day.

Unfortunately for Bezos, Amazon’s AMZN stock price took a hit last week when the company’s second-quarter growth was down 7%.

Bezos no longer richest person

Competing for the title is Bernard Arnault, whose luxury goods conglomerate LVMH dropped by 1.4% last week – signifying a loss of $2.9 billion (R42 billion). Despite that, the French tycoon is now the richest person in the world.

While Arnault’s business interests – Louis Vuitton, Sephora, Moët & Chandon and Tiffany & Co. – increased his riches by more than $100 billion during 2021, LVMH plateaued over the past couple of months.

As of Monday, Bezos had a net worth of $192.6 billion, while Arnault’s net worth sat at $195.8 billion. In the battle of the billionaires, $3.2 billion can break a person, apparently…

Amazon’s decline also caused his ex-wife MacKenzie Scott’s net worth to drop by $4.6 billion on Friday. Her net worth is now estimated at $56 billion, making her the 22nd-richest person in the world.

Billionaires versus the rest of us

In a world ripped apart by poverty and gross inequality, 86% of the world’s 2,755 billionaires boasted a combined $5 trillion increase in wealth in 2020.

At the same time, the average American family’s median net worth is around $121,700 (R1.7 million), while the disposable household income in South Africa was R34,037, as per Statistics SA reports released in January 2021.

As of April 2021, South Africa had five “dollar” billionaires, all of whom saw their wealth grow during the first year of the pandemic.

SA’s dollar billionaires are Nicky Oppenheimer ($8 billion), Johann Rupert ($7.6 billion), Patrice Motsepe and Koos Bekker (both with more than $3 billion), and Michiel Le Roux ($1.2 billion).

Bezos goes to space

Bezos also temporarily gave up his richest-person-in-the-world title for 11 minutes on 20 July 2021 when the billionaire and three other passengers went to space aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket.

Bezos was joined by his brother Mark, the Bezos Family Foundation director, as well as 18-year-old Oliver Daemen and aviator Wally Funk, 82 – who became the youngest and oldest astronauts, respectively.

His spacefaring company Blue Origin also set a new record on 20 July: in the altitude to which the New Shepard craft ascended, compared to Richard Branson and Virgin Galactic’s Spaceplane VSS Unity.

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