Jeff Bezos has officially become the world’s richest person.
It’s everybody’s childhood – and adulthood – dream to be the richest person in the world, but today is not our day, as Bezos, the founder of Amazon, has taken the top spot.
He now has a net worth of $141.9billion – that’s $40billion more than he was worth last year, and $49billion more than his closest competition, Bill Gates.
Bezos realised Amazon could become successful when he learned internet usage was growing at 2,300 per cent per year, explaining he’d never known anything grow so fast.
Speaking at Princeton University, he explained the prospect was very exciting to him:
The idea of building an online bookstore with millions of titles – something that simply couldn’t exist in the physical world – was very exciting to me.
He had his doubts about the project, but knew he’d regret it if he didn’t try.
He launched Amazon in 1994 – the company went public three years later, and it has increased in size ever since.
This year, Amazon, the biggest online retailer in the world, achieved 8th place in the Fortune 500 list, with a revenue of $177.87 billion.
Bezos currently owns 16 per cent of Amazon, and as the shares continue to hit record highs, Bezos net worth will continue to do the same.
A couple of weeks ago, Bezos became the world’s only centi-billionaire as his net worth bypassed $100billion, increasing by $3.3 billion in the space of a week to $138.8billion. In the short space of time since then, his worth has shot up again to the current massive $141.9billion.
Amazon continue to work on their growth. After taking on Whole Foods last year, the company recently struck a deal with the English Premier League to stream matches using Amazon Prime.
However, Bezos’ success comes amid some controversy surrounding the treatment and pay of his employees.
CNN Money revealed, the median salary of Amazon’s employees in 2017 was $28,446, and compared the wage to Bezos’ net worth, if he were to share it:
If the company CEO decided to pass along his $40 billion in increased net worth in 2018 to his workers, each of them would get about $70,000—which is more than twice the median Amazon employee’s salary.
Similar issues were raised a few days ago when more than 400 employees from The Washington Post, a paper Bezos bought in 2013, signed a letter asking the billionaire for ‘fair wages, fair benefits for retirement, family leave, health care, and a fair amount of job security’, reports Geek Wire.
The Washington Post has reportedly doubled its digital subscriptions and increased its online traffic by more than half within the last year, yet employees say they’ve not seen any benefits following these successes.
The letter thanked Bezos for buying the paper in a time when the traditional media model was ‘collapsing’, but went on to ask the Amazon CEO to ‘show the world that you not only can lead the way in creating wealth, but that you also know how to share it with the people who helped you create it’.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.