Amazon’s Jeff Bezos replaces Bill Gates as the world's richest

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Jeff Bezos, CEO of e-commerce giant Amazon, has replaced Microsoft’s Bill Gates as the richest person in the world. According to  Forbes, Bezos’ current net worth stands at a whopping $90.6 billion, with Gates close behind at $90 billion.

Jeff Bezos, Founder & CEO, Amazon.

The remarkable rise in Bezos' net worth is the result of an early morning spike in Amazon's share price, which rose 1.3 percent to $1,065.92 at 10.10 am on Wall Street on Thursday. Bezos owns about 17 percent of the company or roughly 81 million shares.

The fact that Gates, 61, has held the top position in the rich list since 2013 makes Bezos climb to the top even more memorable. Apart from his holdings in Amazon, Forbes has also taken into account Bezos' ownership of the Washington Post and the rocket company Blue Origin to arrive at his net worth.

Shares of Amazon have surged more than 40 percent in the past one year. They were trading at about $1,063 ahead of the release of the company’s latest earnings report.

According to Bloomberg, Bezos’ climb to the top of the rich list is largely due to the success of Amazon Prime which has seen a spectacular increase in subscriptions for its $99-a-year services, and its cloud computing division, Amazon Web Services, which accounts for about 10 percent of Amazon's overall revenue.

Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Securities, says, “Amazon Prime is why so much physical retail is going away. Anyone who joins Prime shops in retail stores 10 percent less, and that number will keep accelerating as Amazon adds more inventory.”

Bezos first entered the billionaires club in 1998 with a net worth of $1.6 billion, after Amazon’s IPO. His net worth touched $4.4 billion in 2007 and further grew to $18.4 billion by 2012, ranking him 26th on the list.

According to CNBC, Bezos' net worth has surged by $70 billion over the past five years, with $45 billion being added in the last two years alone.

At the beginning of this year, Bezos was listed as the world’s fourth richest person after Gates, Warren Buffet and Inditex SA founder Amancio Ortega.