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How Jeff Bezos (briefly) became the world’s richest person

Jeff Bezos overtook Bill Gates on Thursday to become the world’s richest person. Can he top the global wealth chart permanently? Here’s how the Amazon CEO made his billions.

Modern consumers can now buy pretty much anything they want at the click of a mouse.

As such, online retailers that offer, convenient, hassle-free shopping are challenging traditional high street stores – none more so than Amazon.

Jeff Bezos started the internet book store in 1994 and sold its first book the following year. It’s shipped an awful lot since then, in addition to DVDs, furniture, jewellery, toys and even gourmet food.

As a result, Bezos, who started Amazon from his garage, has amassed astonishing personal wealth. Forbes revealed that he briefly became the world’s richest person on Thursday with a fortune of over $90 billion!

Okay, so Bezos didn’t hold on to the title for long. Microsoft founder Bill Gates retook the top spot he has held for seven years. However, analysts now think Bezos will soon overtake him permanently.

Jeff Bezos - Compelo
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Amazon stock surges

Bezos has been a billionaire for the past 20 years. CNBC reports that he first made the famous Forbes list in 1998 with a net worth of $1.6 billion.

However, a surge in Amazon stock over the past two years has propelled Bezos into the annals of the super-rich. The former investment banker and Star Trek fan owns 79.9 million Amazon shares, just under 17% of the company.

Consequently, his net worth has grown by $70 billion over the past five years – and by $45 billion in the last two years!

Jeff Bezos - Comeplo

Jeff Bezos on the Forbes Rich List

The Forbes Rich List, as always, makes for fascinating reading. Hot on the heels of Gates and Bezos is Amancio Ortega, co-founder of Spanish retail giant Zara, with $82.8 billion.

Moreover, the top ten contains two more tech billionaires – Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg at No.5 (70.9 billion) and Larry Ellison of Oracle at seven (61.3 billion). Warren Buffet, Carlos Slim Helu, Michael Bloomberg, Bernard Arnault and Charles Koch complete the elite list.

L’Oreal shareholder Lilliane Bettencourt is the highest-placed woman at No. 14 with a fortune of $43.5 billion.

Check out the winners and losers on the Forbes Rich List here.

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