KEY POINTS

  • Elon Musk became the world's wealthiest person after Tesla's share price increased Thursday
  • The Tesla and SpaceX CEO now has an estimated net worth of $195 billion
  • Musk has overtaken Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' net worth of $185 billion

Elon Musk has overtaken Jeff Bezos as the richest person in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The Tesla CEO is now worth an estimated $194.8 billion, or $9.5 billion more than Bezos, thanks to Tesla’s surging shares, according to Bloomberg. He surpassed the Amazon founder as the world's wealthiest person for the first time after Tesla closed 8% higher at $816 Thursday.

Bill Gates is now a distant third with $132 billion. Completing the top 10 are Bernard Arnault, Mark Zuckerberg, Zhong Shanshan, Warren Buffett, Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Larry Ellison, per the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world's 500 wealthiest people.

Musk downplayed the feat, only tweeting, "How strange. Well, back to work," in response to the report.

Musk's wealth comes from his roughly 20% Tesla stake and 48% SpaceX stake, as well as 57 million exercisable Tesla stock options, the outlet said. Both companies performed well and exceeded expectations in 2020. 

Despite the pandemic, the world’s richest individuals saw their personal wealth increase, with America’s 614 billionaires growing their net worth by nearly a trillion in 2020, USA Today reported. Amazon’s value skyrocketed amid the onslaught of COVID-19, with the delivery service being vital for many consumers. Meanwhile, Tesla finally showed it can deliver on its promise of meeting the target production number. 

The Pretoria, South Africa native’s other company, SpaceX, also continues to make headlines as it reaches new milestones year after year. Most recently, SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Turksat 5A communications satellite Thursday, Space.com reported.

This was just one of the many SpaceX launches scheduled for this year. If the future launches are as successful, experts see the net worth of Musk increasing further in the coming months.

On the personal side, things have also been good for the Tesla CEO. Musk welcomed a son, named X Æ A-12, with girlfriend Grimes in 2020.

The surging fortune of the 49-year-old technopreneur has set the record for the fastest climb in money rankings history. Bezos had enjoyed the top spot in the richest rankings in recent years, but his costly divorce with ex-wife MacKenzie Scott dented his fortune last year.

The details of the settlement were not released, but Scott’s net worth went from $24 billion to $61 billion. Amazon’s shares were also affected by the news of pending additional regulations from Washington. However, despite the divorce, Bezos’ net worth still increased by around $90 billion between March and October 2020, pushing it to $185 billion.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is now the world's wealthiest person Tesla CEO Elon Musk is now the world's wealthiest person Photo: AFP / Odd ANDERSEN