Jeff Bezos has dethroned Microsoft (MSFT) founder Bill Gates as the world's richest human ever -- at least on paper.
The founder and CEO of Amazon (AMZN) saw his already enormous wealth soar even more Tuesday morning as shares of the e-commerce giant topped $1,250-- the stock has gained more than 7 percent just days into the new year. That's not only brought the company's market capitalization to $600 billion, it also pushed Bezos' net worth to $105 billion, according to Bloomberg's billionaire's index, more than Gates was worth at the height of the dotcom boom.
Amazon's stock soared 55 percent in 2016, putting it in elite company: Only four other publicly listed U.S. companies have shares trading for more than $1,000 apiece.
Amazon's stature among investors reflects its growing dominance in the retail world, where it accounts for roughly a third of all e-commerce transactions, and its ambitions to push into other sectors of the economy, like the food business with its purchase last year of grocery chain Whole Foods.
Investors may be banking that Amazon's success during the holiday shopping season will translate to a blockbuster earnings report. "Over the last month our research at GBH has indicated Amazon has dominated e-commerce sales, with our estimates indicating the company captured between 45% to 50% of all holiday online retail sales vs. 38% during this holiday sales period in 2016," Daniel Ives, technical research analyst at GBH research, wrote in a recent note.
And those sales translate to more wealth for Bezos, who started Amazon as a novel way to forcing traditional brick-and-mortar retailers to rethink and even reinvent their sales strategies and, in some cases, shut their doors.online and built the company into a massive internet retail empire,
The company's recent push into video content through its Prime subscription service has thrown down a gauntlet to digital media competitors like Netflix and Hulu.
Amazon is notable for relentlessly focusing on growth and expansion, not turning a profit for years. If the for $13.7 billion, partnership with sports giant Nike and rumors that Amazon is looking to break into the health care market are any indication, Bezos is looking to make Amazon even bigger -- and manage a firmer hold on his new title as world's wealthiest human being.