The pandemic has created a shift in the global rich list as tech companies flourish while aviation takes a hit - GulfToday

The pandemic has created a shift in the global rich list as tech companies flourish while aviation takes a hit

Dr Mohamed Abdulzaher


Academic and Artificial Intelligence Journalism pioneer


Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk. File

COVID-19 has played a significant role in wealth redistribution. The tech-first companies and founders have got richer, to the tune of billions. At the same time, the physical-first founders (aviation, hospitality and real estate), have been pushed to the bottom of the global rich list.

The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to growth of some country economies, as it also has led to the decline in others. As well as it has supported the wealth of global billionaires, and contributed to huge gains for some figures such as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, CEO of Telsa / SpaceX / The Boring Company, and Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook. While other companies and people have fallen to the bottom of the list.

COVID-19 has created a huge wealth gap between billionaires and companies and even countries too.

Jeff Bezos Leads: COVID-19 has helped Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos to be at the top on the billionaires’ list, as his wealth has been grown to $171.6 billion this month.

Amazon products have become one of the most demanded in the world during the COVID-19 pandemic, as it keeps providing groceries, tech items, entertainment, and essential items to people sheltering at home.  Because of the high demand of its services Amazon had to hire an additional 175,000 workers to keep up with surging demand.

In September 2018, Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index previously set Bezos’ net worth to peak at $167.7 billion. In 2020 alone, Bloomberg reported that he had accrued at least $56.7 billion this year. The Seattle-based retailer’s shares stood on at a total of 4.4% (Wednesday, July 3, 2020) to a new high of $2,878.70.

Tech industry billionaires: As COVID-19 has spread, the world has relied on many technological tools, solutions and artificial intelligence in different sectors from health care, education, laboratories, and hospitals, shopping malls, to even monitoring of streets, airports, and cities during the lockdown.

The tech industry has created new billionaires with the largest wealth gains, including Tesla. Since January 1, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has added $25.8 billion to his net worth.

Elon Musk had a net worth in March of around $24.6 billion, on June 4 it reached to $38.2 billion, and at the end of June his fortune was $46.3 billion — his wealth has jumped more than 53% within 3 months of COVID-19.

Meanwhile last week Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook net worth dropped around $10 billion in just a week, after Coca-Cola, Starbucks, and other major brands halted their social-media advertising.

Last March Zuckerberg’s worth was recorded at $54.7 billion, which has jumped to $82.3 billion last month. The Facebook shares have risen by 25 per cent over the past month, pushing Zuckerberg’s fortune up by $13.4 billion.

Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Indian energy company Reliance Industries has become the 11th richest person in the world as his real-time net worth crossed the $60 billion mark last month, after RIL becomes India’s first $150 billion company. Mukesh Ambani’s net worth on March 18 wa $36.8 billion.

Prominent losers: Many economic sectors have been badly affected by coronavirus, which means a negative effect on the share market values of many global companies, thus affecting the wealth of their main shareholders.

One of the biggest losers is Arnault CEO of Paris-listed LVMH and the world’s third-wealthiest person, whose fortune plunged $6 billion, or 6% in March.

Amancio Ortega the founder and former chairman of fashion chain Zara, has lost $19.2 billion. Hathaway Inc. Berkshire Chairperson Warren Buffett has dropped by $19 billion, and French tycoon Bernard Arnault’s luxury goods is down by $17.6 billion.

The decline was mainly weathered. The world’s wealthiest 500 individuals now have a net worth of $5.93 trillion, compared to $5.91 trillion at the beginning of the year, according to Bloomberg.

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