Jeff Bezos, president and CEO of Amazon, speaks at the Economic Club in Washington DC on Sept 13, 2018. [Photo/Agencies]

Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of e-commerce giant Amazon, topped the Forbes ranking of the world’s richest people for four consecutive years with wealth of $177 billion, while Tesla chief executive Elon Musk came in at No 2 at $151 billion, according to the Forbes World’s Billionaires List released Tuesday.

The number of billionaires on Forbes’ 35th annual ranking expanded to an unprecedented 2,755, growing 660 year-on-year, and 493 were first-timers, including 210 from the Chinese mainland and the Hong Kong SAR. Around 86 percent turned out to be richer than a year ago.

Altogether these billionaires were worth $13.1 trillion, up from $8 trillion in 2020.

“Despite the pandemic, it was a record-setting year for the world’s wealthiest… there were rapid-fire public offerings, surging cryptocurrencies and skyrocketing stock prices,” Forbes said.

Bezos’s fortune increased $64 billion from a year earlier, as a result of surging Amazon shares. Elon Musk saw his wealth expanding $126.4 billion over last year, when he ranked No 31 on the list. The huge jump lies in a 705 percent climb in Tesla shares to a great extent, Forbes analyzed.

French luxury brand tycoon Bernard Arnault took the third spot, with an estimated fortune of $150 billion. Bill Gates and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg ranked fourth and fifth, accumulating total wealth of $124 billion and $97 billion, respectively.

Chinese business man Zhong Shanshan, who chairs Nongfu Spring, a bottled water company, sits at No 13 with net worth at $68.9 billion. Tencent Holding’s CEO Ma Huateng saw wealth totaling $65.8 billion and came in at No 14.

The US still has more billionaires than any other country with 724, followed by China (including the Hong Kong and Macao SARs) with 698 and India in the third spot.

To calculate net worth, Forbes used stock prices and exchange rates from March 5, the magazine said.