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The surge in net worth among tech entrepreneurs this year — Amazon.com Inc.’s Jeff Bezos and Tesla Inc.’s Elon Musk both added more than US$60 billion to their net worth in 2020, according to the Bloomberg index — has led to increased scrutiny as millions in the U.S. lost their jobs amid a slumping economy. Meanwhile, a U.S. house panel has proposed a series of far-reaching antitrust reforms to curb the power of the technology giants after a 16-month antitrust investigation found the companies are abusing their dominance.
But these wealthy individuals may just be the ones that will help lead the recovery.
“As the storm passes, a new generation of entrepreneurs looks likely to digitize, refresh and revolutionize the economy,” the report found.
Despite the global economic shock, the world’s 500 richest people are a combined US$813 billion richer now than they were at the beginning of the year, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Total billionaire wealth surged to a fresh peak of US$10.2 trillion in July, up from US$8.9 trillion at the end of 2017, according to the report findings. The heavy lifting came from the tech and health-care sectors, where fortunes jumped by 43 per cent and 50 per cent, respectively. Net worth among those in entertainment, materials, real estate and even finance, by comparison, grew at 10 per cent or less.
While the U.S. is the country with the most wealth — US$3.6 trillion — Asia Pacific counts 831 billionaires, more than any other region and representing 38 per cent of the global billionaire population. The combined fortune of the super-rich there surged by 36 per cent to US$3.3 trillion between early April and July, adding 221 new billionaires, with 91 per cent of them being women, the researchers said at a press briefing.