Elon Musk no longer world's second richest as Tesla tumbles

Elon Musk has had a meteoric rise in the list of richest persons in the world but after scaling the highs to claim the second spot, the Tesla CEO has stumbled and lost the place to LVMH Chairman Bernard Arnault. This after Tesla shares fell by 2.2%. Musk now has a personal fortune of $160.6 billion which is significantly lower - by 24% - from its January highs.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk at the construction site of Tesla's gigafactory in Gruenheide, near Berlin. (REUTERS)
Tesla CEO Elon Musk at the construction site of Tesla's gigafactory in Gruenheide, near Berlin.

The fate of Tesla is intricately linked with the fortunes of Musk. But recent woes for the California-based EV maker may be a source of concern. The dip in Tesla shares are being widely seen to have been caused by a global slump in technology stocks as well as due to alleged troubles in Tesla's business in China where it has come under increased scrutiny.

China is the world's largest auto market and Shanghai became home to the first Tesla plant outside of the US, back in 2019. But suspicions Tesla vehicles may store sensitive data in restricted areas with its on-board cameras, accidents as well as a Tesla owner creating a furor at Shanghai Motor Show over faulty brakes in her car, have all contributed to a rumble.

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Tesla maintains that cameras on its cars in China - otherwise meant to assist with automated drive functionalities - are not made operational. It has also sought to defend itself against allegations emerging after accidents.

Clearly then, the past few months have not been quite ideal for either Tesla or for Musk, someone who catapulted to become the world's richest in January when Tesla shares rocketed by 750% in end 2020.

Musk's fortunes have dropped by around $9.1 billion this year alone while 72-year-old Arnault has amassed around $47 billion, powered mainly by his company's luxury items gaining wider acceptance in China and other Asian markets.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos remains the wealthiest person, and by quite a distance.

First Published Date: 18 May 2021, 09:32 AM IST
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