Mukesh Ambani surges past wealthiest European to become world’s fourth richest

Reliance Industries’ chairman is now worth $80.6bn, after amassing $22bn this year

epa08547090 (FILE) - Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani , Chairman and Managing Director, Relaince Industries ltd arrives at the company's 42nd annual general meeting in Mumbai, India, 12 August 2019 (reissued 15 July 2020). Reports on 15 July 2020 state Reliance Industries chairman and managing director Mukesh Ambani said Google would buy a 4.5 billion USD, 7.7 per cent stake in Jio Platforms, the digital to mobile part of Reliance.  EPA/DIVYAKANT SOLANKI

Mukesh Ambani has surged past Europe’s wealthiest man, making him the world’s fourth-richest person.

Reliance Industries’ chairman is now worth $80.6 billion (Dh293.6bn), after amassing $22bn this year, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. That gives him a bigger wealth pile than France’s Bernard Arnault, whose LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton has suffered from customers curbing high-end fashion purchases faster than the company can cut costs.

India’s richest person has already surpassed some of the biggest tycoons in recent weeks – a list that includes Silicon Valley titans such as Elon Musk and Alphabet co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, as well as the so-called Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett.

While the conglomerate with a huge energy empire was slammed by a slump in demand for oil amid Covid-19, its shares have more than doubled from a low in March as its digital unit got billions in investments from companies including Facebook and Google.

Mr Ambani has slowly been shifting his focus to e-commerce, with tech giants seeking to take a piece of India’s fast-growing digital business. Google said last month it will spend $10bn in the coming years to help accelerate the adoption of digital technologies in the world’s second-most populous nation.

Meanwhile, with LVMH shares down this year, Mr Arnault has become the biggest loser among the world’s 500 richest people. His net worth has plunged $25.1bn to $80.2bn.