Business / #ForbesBusiness

September 5, 2018,   2:37 PM

Jeff Bezos Leads Amazon To Record Valuation

Abisola Owolawi

I write about business, entrepreneurship, innovation, wealth and culture with a focus on global impact. Innovative, groundbreaking ideas and the structures that drive them over time, inform my subject choices. I cover industries that span manufacturing, service, technology, entertainment, healthcare and aviation among others, across Africa for Forbes Middle East. I have previously worked as Forbes Africa’s West Africa Correspondent, a wealth contributor on the annual Forbes rich list and as a CNBC Africa business contributor. FULL BIO

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Just over a month after Apple reached a record valuation, e-commerce giant Amazon became the second publicly traded U.S company to hit the milestone as the company’s market capitalization briefly rose to over $1 trillion.

Amazon Founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos whose fortune has been skyrocketing owing to soaring Amazon shares in 2018, saw a jump in his personal fortune to $1.8 billion in his personal fortune on Tuesday.

Even though Apple remains the only company above the benchmark following a stock fall by Tuesday’s close, this goes down as a remarkable feat for Amazon.

Bezos became the richest person alive and the only person on earth worth more than $100 billion based on Forbes 2018 ranking of billionaires, with his wealth exceeding that of the world’s next richest person, Bill Gates. Amazon shares soared 108% over the last year, doubling Bezos' fortune in an unprecedented gain from $81 billion to nearly $167 billion today.

Growing its market value from $60 billion in January to $1 trillion in just 165 days, Amazon pushed past the more established tech giants Microsoft and Alphabet. By comparison, Apple needed 183 sessions to hit $1 trillion after hitting $900 billion in November.

For Amazon, this achievement is a far cry from its early days as an online bookseller. Bezos, who started the company out of a garage 24 years ago, today sits atop the cloud computing and retail industries while spreading his company's tentacles across other areas such as advertising, healthcare, and entertainment.

As Amazon’s record second-quarter earnings of $2.53 billion are still billions below profits generated by Apple, Alphabet, and Microsoft, the higher market multiple indicates how much investor confidence there is in Bezos’ heavy spending strategy over the last two decades.

Bezos built a business on low prices and rapid expansion – the exposure he gave to the company’s site opened it up to millions of retailers and manufacturers and cleverly helped capture sales from other retail chains accelerating its growth and solidifying its appetite for competition while pouring revenues back into the business, buying up companies and developing new technologies.

In spite of great commercial success, Amazon has not been without controversy as a recent report on poor work conditions surfaced, which was supported by concerns of many Amazon employees on a poor work culture and dire warehouse conditions.

Following Amazon’s record high trillion dollar milestone, Google's owning company Alphabet is not far behind, as is Microsoft Corp. Both are approaching $900 billion while Facebook Inc. is currently at $500 billion.

In 1998, a year after taking his company public, Bezos joined the Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans with a net worth of $1.6 billion.

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