Elon Musk – the founder and chief executive of Tesla – has been named The World's Richest Person 2022 by American business magazine Forbes.
For the past four years, the position was held by Amazon boss Jeff Bezos.
As per Forbes estimates, 50-year-old Musk, also the CEO of rocket firm SpaceX, is worth $219 billion – $48 billion more than Bezos, who comes in at number two.
Even after selling billions of dollars of Tesla stock late last year, and owing taxes on gains from those sales, Musk is an estimated $68 billion richer than a year ago.
Forbes in a recently published report said that it calculated the net worths using stock prices and currency exchange rates from this year's 11 March for the latest list.
Bezos' stint as the world's richest person was short-lived compared to that of his predecessor, Microsoft's Bill Gates.
Gates occupied the top spot for all but five years from 1995 to 2017 – Warren Buffet stole the show for a year with savvy bets during the financial crisis of 2008, and Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helu matched Bezos' four-year stretch from 2010 to 2013.
It also took Bezos twice as long as Musk to climb the rankings. After taking Amazon public in May 1997, Bezos debuted on the list in 1998 with a $1.6 billion fortune.
Musk's first appearance on Forbes' billionaires' list was in 2012, with a net worth of $2 billion.
Two years after his electric car maker went public in 2010, it looked like an IPO for his rocket producer was also imminent.
However, a decade later, SpaceX remains privately held, with shares trading hands in the secondary market at a valuation north of $100 billion last October – up from $74 billion in February.
Besides, while Bezos may have personally left earth before him (Musk still hasn't flown to space), Musk's aerospace firm launched the world's first all-civilian crew into orbit last fall.
But Musk owes his status as the world's richest person to Tesla's soaring (and volatile) stock price. He owns roughly 21% of the company but has pledged more than half his stake as collateral for loans. Forbes estimates his shares and vested options were worth $183 billion as of 11 March, even after discounting his stake to take the loans into account.
While Musk has been on Forbes' list of the world's billionaires for a decade, his net worth really took off in the last two years.
When Forbes finalized its 2020 World's Billionaires List on March 18, 2020, Tesla's stock price stood at $72.24 per share.
The Tesla boss ranked 31st in the world, with a net worth of $24.6 billion ($88.4 billion behind Bezos). A year later, Musk trailed Bezos by only $26 billion after Tesla's stock price increased more than eightfold, boosting Musk's fortune by $126 billion–setting the record for the biggest one-year gain of any billionaire Forbes has ever tracked.
Already criticized by some analysts and investors (as well as Musk himself) for being priced too high, Tesla shares have continued to climb, gaining another 33% in the last year, despite widespread automotive chip shortages (Tesla produces its chips in-house with a new material technology called silicon carbide that reduces reliance on pure silicon), stricter regulation of Chinese user data the company utilizes to refine its self-driving systems (Tesla set up a new data centre in the country to store that information locally) and the recall of more than 475,000 vehicles in December 2021 due to two separate safety issues and more than 285,000 of its cars in China in June 2021.