/ 8 January 2023

Tech billionaires who bit the dust – but still have a fortune

Elon Musk.
Elon Musk lost $140 billion in 2022 because of the collapse of Tesla’s share price, leaving his total net worth at $130 billion, according to Bloomberg’s index of the world’s richest people.

The fortunes of Silicon Valley billionaires took a beating in 2022 as the share prices of the world’s tech giants plummeted.

Here are some of the worst-hit by this year’s tech stock downturn.

Elon Musk

After becoming the world’s richest person in 2021, the Tesla and SpaceX boss saw over half of his net worth evaporate, boosting France’s luxury goods mogul Bernard Arnault into the top spot.

Elon Musk lost $140 billion in 2022 because of the collapse of Tesla’s share price, leaving his total net worth at $130 billion, according to Bloomberg’s index of the world’s richest people.

Once the darling of Wall Street investors, the future of the electric car company is now under question after Musk pushed through with a $44 billion buyout of Twitter that many observers see as an expensive distraction.

Musk largely financed his buyout by selling off shares in Tesla, putting the share price into an even steeper downward spiral.

Mark Zuckerberg

The Facebook founder has put all his efforts into promoting the so-called metaverse, but investors are not as confident that the world will be going completely virtual anytime soon.

The share price in Meta, Facebook’s parent company, fell off a cliff in 2022.

Wall Street’s lack of confidence has sliced $81 billion off Zuckerberg’s fortune, leaving it at $44.4 billion as of 28 December. Meta has faced stiff competition from breakout app TikTok and, like archrival Google, is plagued by a morose advertising market as the world economy faces a downturn amid high inflation. 

Jeff Bezos

Since stepping down as chief executive of Amazon in July 2021, Bezos has devoted much of his time to developing space exploration projects through his company Blue Origin.

But his fortune remains heavily tied to the online retail giant’s share price, which fell by more than 49% in 2022.

Bezos, who remains as Amazon’s executive chairperson, lost more than $86 billion last year, leaving a fortune estimated at $106 billion. The 58-year-old entrepreneur and owner of the Washington Post told CNN in November that he planned to donate most of his wealth to charity during his lifetime.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin

The two Google founders have not helmed the company since 2019, but remain board members of parent company Alphabet, which also owns health, artificial intelligence and other subsidiaries.

Alphabet’s share price declined by 39% last year, punished by declining online advertising revenues and increased competition from Apple and Amazon.

Page’s wealth is down to $46.1 billion and Brin’s is down to $44.8 billion. They are still the 10th- and 11th-richest people on the planet, according to Bloomberg.

Zhang Yiming

The Chinese billionaire is an outlier to the tech debacle. The founder of TikTok-owner Bytedance saw his fortune rise by $10.4 billion in 2022. His $55 billion net worth makes him the second-richest person in China and 23rd-richest person in the world.

But storm clouds are looming for TikTok as political pressure builds in Washington over accusations that the video-sharing app’s immense success leaves the United States vulnerable to China.Federal officials have banned TikTok on government phones and are reportedly mulling whether to force Bytedance to sell its US version of the app. — AFP