Social distancing is helping this tech billionaire ride out the market rout


  • Technology
  • Tuesday, 17 Mar 2020

A file photo of Yuan (right) speaking with a trader after the Nasdaq opening bell ceremony on April 18, 2019 in New York City. Eric Yuan, the founder of Zoom Video Communications Inc added US$20mil (RM86.63mil) to his net worth on a day when the S&P 500 plunged 12%, the most since Black Monday on Oct 19, 1987. — AFP

The continuing rout in global stocks obliterated about US$4tril (RM17.32tril) of market value Monday, but one tech billionaire is managing to avoid the onslaught as social distancing becomes the norm.

Eric Yuan, the founder of Zoom Video Communications Inc added US$20mil (RM86.63mil) to his net worth on a day when the S&P 500 plunged 12%, the most since Black Monday on Oct 19, 1987. Shares of the video-conferencing company climbed 0.4%, boosting its year-to-date gain to 58%.

Yuan, 50, has added US$2bil (RM8.66bil) to his net worth in 2020, the fourth-biggest increase in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world’s 500 richest people. After starting the year unranked, he’s now at No. 274 on the list with a US$5.6bil (RM24.25bil) fortune.

Demand for Zoom’s software, which facilitates virtual conferences and web meetings, is exploding as the spreading virus is prompting office closures and meeting cancellations. Business conferences, college courses and even children’s playgroups have all moved online as people worldwide heed calls to stay away from one another.

Born in China, Yuan overcame eight denials on his US visa application before finally making it to Silicon Valley. He came up with the idea for Zoom after repeatedly traveling 10 hours to see his girlfriend while they were college students.

The world’s 500 wealthiest lost a total of US$258bil (RM1.11tril) on March 16, pushing their collective losses this year to more than US$1tril (RM4.33tril). Facebook Inc co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, the world’s fifth-richest person, incurred the biggest one-day decline, with his fortune plunging US$9bil (RM38.98bil) to US$56.3bil (RM243.87bil).

Last centibillionaire

But no one has lost more wealth so far this year than Frenchman Bernard Arnault. The chairman of luxury-goods maker LVMH ended 2019 as one of just three people with a net worth of at least US$100bil (RM433.17bil). On Monday, his fortune sank US$4.6bil (RM19.92bil), bringing his 2020 decline to US$40.6bil (RM175.86bil). He remains the world’s fourth-richest person.

Today, just one centibillionaire remains: Jeff Bezos. The Amazon.com Inc founder ended Monday with a net worth of US$105.5bil (RM456.99bil), after shares of the retailer slid 5.4% on the day and sliced an additional US$5.4bil (RM23.39bil) from his fortune. — Bloomberg

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 18
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3

billionaire , Jeff Bezos

   

Did you find this article insightful?

Yes
No

90% readers found this article insightful

Across the site