Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin joined the exclusive club last week, entering a group dominated by US tech entrepreneurs, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The world’s eight richest people together hold fortunes of more than $1 trillion (roughly Rs. 75,41,060 crores) and have added $110 billion (roughly Rs. 8,29,520 crores) combined this year.
In 2017, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos was the first to hit the $100 billion (roughly Rs. 7,54,390 crores) milestone since Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates back in 1999. Gates’s wealth then slumped with the dot-com bubble burst, and he regained the title of centibillionaire only in 2019. Tesla’s Elon Musk and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg joined the club last year as the tech industry led a boost in wealth creation with the coronavirus pandemic accelerating a switch to online.
Billionaires with wealth of at least $100 billion (roughly Rs. 7,54,390 crores) are mostly US-based. Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren and other progressive lawmakers recently revived plans to introduce a wealth tax, though the proposal is unlikely to go anywhere in a narrowly divided Congress.
“The US economy is the world’s most powerful engine of wealth creation and prosperity,” John Lettieri, president and chief executive officer of Washington DC-based think tank Economic Innovation Group, told US lawmakers March 17. “In spite of this, the lack of wealth at the bottom remains a troubling and persistent fact of life in this country.”
US shares climbed to a fresh record Friday on optimism over the economic recovery. The tech-focused Nasdaq 100 Index has risen more than 7 percent this year, with Google parent Alphabet rallying for the past two weeks as it won a copyright ruling. Page and Brin have added more than $20 billion (roughly Rs. 1,50,820 crores) each to their wealth this year, some of the biggest gains.
Warren Buffett briefly reached the $100 billion (roughly Rs. 7,54,390 crores) mark in March before hitting it again last week, while Bernard Arnault of France’s luxury group LVMH has been part of the elite group on and off since 2019.
– With assistance from Ben Stupples.
© 2021 Bloomberg LP
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