Nvidia’s Jensen Huang is now richer than every member of Walmart’s founding family

Huang’s net worth jumped to US$91.3bil (RM430.93bil) on May 23, bumping him up three spots on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index to become the 17th-richest person in the world. — Bloomberg

Another blowout quarter from chipmaker Nvidia Corp catapulted co-founder Jensen Huang’s fortune past each individual member of the Waltons, America’s richest family.

Huang’s net worth jumped to US$91.3bil (RM430.93bil) on May 23, bumping him up three spots on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index to become the 17th-richest person in the world. Nearly all his wealth is in Nvidia stock, which rose 9.3% after a bullish sales forecast that reinforced the company’s status as the biggest beneficiary of artificial intelligence-related spending.

Huang is now richer than the three wealthiest members of Walmart Inc’s founding family, including Jim Walton, 75, who has a net worth of US$86.5bil (RM408.28bil) and co-manages Walton Enterprises, which together with another family holding company controls about half of the world’s largest retailer. His brother Rob Walton, 79, has a net worth of US$84.6bil (RM399.31bil) and was chairman of Walmart for 23 years following his father’s death. Their younger sister Alice Walton, 74, has a net worth of US$83.8bil (RM395.53bil).

Combined, the Walton family’s fortune is nearly US$300bil (RM1.41 trillion), making them the second-richest clan in the world after the Al Nahyans, Abu Dhabi’s ruling family.

Nvidia has been the primary beneficiary of the artificial intelligence boom with its so-called AI accelerator chips, sending its sales soaring and its market value above US$2.5 trillion (RM11.8 trillion).

Huang, 61, stoked the excitement by talking about the dawning of a new era. “This is the beginning of a new industrial revolution,” he told Bloomberg News in an interview, echoing one of his favorite themes. “This is really exciting.”

AI celebrity

Walmart also reported stronger-than-expected first-quarter earnings earlier this month and boosted its annual sales and profit forecasts, pushing its market value over US$500bil (RM2.36 trillion) for the first time. Shares of Walmart are up 23% this year.

But its growth lags Nvidia’s momentum. The chipmaker’s stock is the third-best performer among members of the S&P 500 Index this year, surging 110% as the company rides the waves of persistently strong AI computing spending.

Huang, in his signature black leather jacket, has become a celebrity in the AI era. His company started as a provider of graphics cards for computer gamers. But he recognised that Nvidia’s chips were well-suited to developing AI software and that helped open a new market – and gave him a jump on competitors.

Huang’s fortune is derived from his 3.5% stake in Nvidia, which he co-founded in 1993 with friends Chris Malachowsky and Curtis Priem and has been leading as chief executive officer since then. The company created the first so-called graphics processing unit in 1999 and went public in the same year.

Huang was born in Taiwan and spent his early childhood there and in Thailand, where unrest prompted his parents to send him to live with relatives in Washington state. He received an undergraduate electrical engineering degree in 1984 from Oregon State University and a master’s degree in the same subject from Stanford University in 1992. –Bloomberg

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