Elon Musk (the USA)
Fortune at year-end: USD 136.9 billion
Gained: USD 110.3 billion
The first among the successful ones is Elon Musk, who over the year managed to add quite a hefty sum to his already formidable wealth. This came about, first and foremost, due to an extremely sharp increase in the price of Tesla shares. On top of that, Musk was able to obtain as much as four tranches from the relief package totaling twelve such tranches. SpaceX, founded by Musk, is also doing more than well. The first orbital launch of a US manned spacecraft in the last nine years took place in May 2020. This provided a new landmark in space exploration, a spaceship launched by a private company.
Jeff Bezos (the USA)
Fortune at year-end: USD 182.2 billion
Gained: USD 67.5 billion
Second in the list of the billionaires who grew richer this year is Jeff Bezos who still struggles to bring his fortune back to the previously recorded level of over USD 200 billion. In the lockdown year, however, Amazon (his main item of income) increased its growth rate. As of today, its capitalization amounts to more than USD 1.5 trillion. Bezos, it should be reminded, owns 11.1% of shares of the retailer. Naturally, Amazon’s success became the success of the billionaire himself, who, driven by the good news, even started paying more attention to charity. Early this autumn he donated USD 800 million to environmental organizations.
Zhong Shanshan (China)
Fortune at year-end: USD 62.5 billion
Gained: USD 60.5 billion
The dash for the third most thriving billionaire’s spot was won by Zhong Shanshan. This is mainly owing to two extremely successful IPOs. His first company went on the stock market in early autumn this year. It is called Nongfu Spring and controls production of a fifth of all bottled water in China. It should be noted that a few months after the IPO the company’s shares displayed significant growth, doubling its initial price. Shanshan’s second company, Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy, produces vaccines. It went public just recently, in December of 2020, but the price of its shares sky-rocketed all the same. As of today, the shares bring in fifteen times the IPO price.
Dan Gilbert (the USA)
Fortune at year-end: USD 43.9 billion
Gained: USD 37.1 billion
The fourth luckiest one is the founder of the Quicken Loans mortgage bank. His success was also ensured with the IPO of Quicken Loans’ parent company, Rocket Companies. The grandiose IPO took place late in the summer of 2020 and resulted in the company increasing its worth to USD 41 billion. Gilbert himself holds the controlling 95% share. Thus the thriving businessman increased his fortune almost seven-fold.
Bernard Arnault (France)
Fortune at year-end: USD 146.3 billion
Gained: USD 35 billion
The fifth fastest growing fortune amidst the hardships of 2020 belongs to the French billionaire Bernard Arnault. He had it rough this year, too, as the luxury market (where his effort is focused) lost some of its popularity among potential clients. But even with very limited demand, Arnault’s fortune grew by 30%, which, of course, is a hefty gain. In the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic Bernard had to freeze the purchase of the Tiffany & Co. jewelry brand; however, he did not abandon this idea altogether but barely moved the acquisition to October. It is worth mentioning that the deal turned out to be more profitable for him: he managed to save USD 400 million. Meanwhile, income from sales of luxuries continues to weaken, so it is very difficult to predict what will happen in the year to come.