Elon Musk, the wonder CEO behind the skyrocketing growth of Tesla Inc. and SpaceX is approaching to gain the title of the richest man on the planet.
A 2.8% rally in the electric carmaker's share price Wednesday boosted Musk to minimize the gap to reach the top position of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, reports NDTV.
As of Wednesday, the tech entrepreneur is worth $181.1 billion, a little behind Bezos, who has held the top spot since October 2017.
As chief executive officer of Space Exploration Technologies Corp, or SpaceX, Musk is also a rival to Bezos, owner of Blue Origin LLC, in the private space race.
The milestone caps an extraordinary 12 months for Musk. Over the past year his net worth soared by more than $150 billion in possibly the fastest bout of wealth creation in history. Fueling his rise was an unprecedented rally in Tesla's share price, which surged 743% last year on the back of consistent profits, inclusion in the S&P 500 Index and enthusiasm from Wall Street and retail investors alike.
Wednesday's jump in Tesla's stock price further inflates a valuation light-years apart from other automakers on numerous metrics. Tesla produced just over half-a-million cars last year, a fraction of the output of Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co.
Musk, 49, has benefited from Tesla's stratospheric rise in more than one way. In addition to his 20% stake in the automaker, he's sitting on about $40 billion of unrealized paper gains on vested stock options.
Despite his astronomical gains, Musk has said he has little interest in material things and has few assets outside his stakes in Tesla and SpaceX. He told Axel Springer in an interview last month that the main purpose of his wealth is to accelerate humanity's evolution into a spacefaring civilization.
"I want to be able to contribute as much as possible to the city on Mars," Musk said. "That means just a lot of capital."
The world's 500 richest people added a record $1.8 trillion to their combined net worth last year, equivalent to a 31% increase. The gains were disproportionately at the top, where five individuals hold fortunes in excess of $100 billion and another 20 are worth at least $50 billion.