Gautam Adani, the Indian tycoon who has risen rapidly up the wealth rankings this year, has surpassed Jeff Bezos to become the world’s second-richest person.
Adani, who began the year ranked 14 on both the Bloomberg Billionaires Index and the Forbes Billionaires Index, now has a $146.8 billion fortune, trailing only Elon Musk’s $263.9 billion.
Shares of his flagship company, Adani Enterprises Ltd., hit a new high this week, and some of his group companies have increased by more than 1,000% since 2020.
Bezos trails Adani by only $19 million as a renewed tech selloff hammered the fortunes of the richest Americans on Friday. The change in wealth rankings could be fleeting and is largely dependent on Amazon.com Inc. shares, which are down 26% this year.
Adani surpassed India’s Mukesh Ambani as the richest Asian in February, became a billionaire in April, and has recently surpassed Bill Gates and France’s Bernard Arnault.
It’s the first time someone from Asia has ranked so high in the wealth index, which has previously been dominated by US tech entrepreneurs.
Adani, 60, dropped out of college in the early 1980s to try his luck in Mumbai’s diamond industry before moving on to coal and ports.
Since then, his conglomerate has expanded into everything from airports to data centres, cement, media, and green energy, focusing on areas that Prime Minister Narendra Modi believes are critical to India’s long-term economic goals.
Adani’s rise coincides with a tech selloff that has depleted Bezos’ fortune by more than $45 billion since January. After his 2019 divorce from ex-wife MacKenzie Scott, who received 4% of the e-commerce giant, the Amazon founder’s net worth — for years the world’s richest person — dropped significantly.
How long can Adani maintain his second-place ranking is unknown. But, judging by the current increase in his wealth and strategic diversification of his investment into various sectors, Adani is only getting started.
Adani’s push into renewables and infrastructure has earned him investments from firms such as Warburg Pincus and TotalEnergies SE, which has helped boost his companies’ shares as well as his personal wealth.
This year, he added about $70 billion to his fortune, more than anyone else, while many others lost money.