The Covid-19 pandemic has played a significant role in wealth redistribution, with tech companies and their founders emerging as the biggest winners. While aviation, real estate and hospitality industries have been pushed to the bottom of the global list of the rich, the tech industry billionaires witnessed the largest wealth gains last year.
According to data presented by AksjeBloggen.com, the combined net worth of the five wealthiest people in the US tech industry hit $567 billion in February, more than the gross domestic product (GDP) of the 80 poorest countries combined. As the Covid-19 spread, the world has relied on many technological tools across different sectors, from business and education to commerce and health care. Tech companies providing the best solutions amid the pandemic witnessed the most significant revenue surge, while their founders got richer, to the tune of billions.
Amazon products have become one of the most demanded in the world during the pandemic, as it keeps providing tech items, groceries and entertainment to people amid lockdown. Because of the high demand for its services, the company had to hire an additional 175,000 workers to keep up with surging demand.
According to the Forbes billionaire list, Covid-19 has helped Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos to grow his wealth by $74 billion in the last year, with his net worth reaching $187 billion this month. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) data show this figure is closest to New Zealand and Iraq’s GDP, which ranked 52nd and 53rd globally with $193.5 billion and $178.1 billion, respectively.
Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder, is the second wealthiest person in the US tech industry and globally. The net worth of the billionaire working with the WHO and drug makers to defeat the coronavirus is currently standing at $120 billion. Statistics show Gates’ wealth grew by $ billion last year and is now closest to Morocco’s GDP, which ranked 59th globally.
As the fifth-largest tech company globally, Facebook has also witnessed impressive growth in 2020. The Facebook shares rose by 26% in the last year, pushing its CEO’s fortune up by $39 billion to $93.7 bilion. This figure means that Mark Zuckerberg’s wealth is $700 million above Puerto Rico’s GDP, which stands at $93.9 billion.
The chairman, chief technology officer, and co-founder of software giant Oracle, Larry Ellison, and co-founder of Google, Larry Page, ranked as the fourth and fifth tech billionaires globally, with $84.9 billion and $80.4 billion in net worth as of this month. Their wealth is the closest to Sri Lanka and Dominican Republic’s GDP, which ranked 66th and 67th globally, with $81.1billion and $77.8 billion, respectively.
According to Forbes and International Monetary Fund data, the cumulative wealth of the top five tech billionaires also surpasses the GDP of several countries considered to be economic powerhouses. For example, their combined net worth is bigger than the GDP of Austria, Norway, or United Arab Emirates, which ranked 28th, 33rd, and 35th globally with $432.8 billion, $366.3 billion, and $353.9 billion, respectively.
Statistics show that the five tech billionaires’ wealth is the closest to Poland and Sweden’s GDP, as 23rd and 24th economies globally. The two countries’ gross domestic product stood at $580.9 billion and $529 billion in 2020.