These 15 Billionaires Got Richer During the Pandemic

·5 min read
Paul Sancya/AP/REX
Paul Sancya/AP/REX

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the financial well-being of millions of people around the world, with many losing jobs, shuttering their businesses or losing a large portion of their retirement savings due to market volatility. Yet somehow, the world's richest seem to be coming out of the crisis unscathed — and in many cases, even richer.

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GOBankingRates compared the net worths of the world's richest billionaires on March 18, 2020, to their net worths on July 27, 2021, to determine the 15 who gained the most wealth during that time. Some of the figures are shocking.

Take a look at these billionaires, ranked in order of who has gained the least to most during the health crisis.

Last updated: Aug. 2, 2021

Andrew Gombert/EPA/REX/Shutterstock
Andrew Gombert/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

Steve Ballmer

  • Beginning net worth: $52.7 billion

  • Ending net worth: $84.1 billion

  • Amount gained: $31.4 billion

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's net worth has increased by 59.58% during the pandemic. Ballmer and his wife, Connie, were among the first billionaires to pledge to fight the virus, making more than $25 million in donations through their philanthropic group before the end of March 2020.

Find Out: Just How Rich Are Elon Musk, Donald Trump and These Other Big Names?

Elaine Thompson/AP/REX
Elaine Thompson/AP/REX

Bill Gates

  • Beginning net worth: $98 billion

  • Ending net worth: $131 billion

  • Amount gained: $33 billion

Microsoft founder Bill Gates' fortune has grown by 33.67% amid the pandemic — the lowest growth percentage on the list. Still, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has allocated more than $1.8 billion toward COVID-19 initiatives globally.

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bmw-gears-up-to-sell-half-a-million-electric-cars-by-2019.jpg
bmw-gears-up-to-sell-half-a-million-electric-cars-by-2019.jpg

Robin Zeng

  • Beginning net worth: $9.7 billion

  • Ending net worth: $43.8 billion

  • Amount gained: $34.1 billion

Robin Zeng, of China, is the founder and chairman of battery manufacturer Contemporary Amperex Technology. It makes batteries for electric vehicles, and Forbes said the company's clients include automakers BMW and Volkswagen.

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Nati Harnik/AP/REX
Nati Harnik/AP/REX

Warren Buffett

  • Beginning net worth: $67.5 billion

  • Ending net worth: $101.9 billion

  • Amount gained: $34.4 billion

Warren Buffett, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, has gained $34.4 billion during the pandemic, and he acknowledged the lack of economic parity amid the crisis.

"The economic impact has been this extremely uneven thing where (...) many hundreds of thousands or millions of small businesses have been hurt in a terrible way, but most of the big companies have overwhelmingly done fine,” he said in a CNBC special that aired in June 2021.

Francois Mori/AP/REX
Francois Mori/AP/REX

Francoise Bettencourt Meyers & Family

  • Beginning net worth: $48.9 billion

  • Ending net worth: $89.3 billion

  • Amount gained: $40.4 billion

L'Oreal heiress Francoise Bettencourt Meyers is the richest woman in the world — and she's become even richer during the pandemic. Her net worth has risen by 82.62%

Ajit Solanki/AP
Ajit Solanki/AP

Mukesh Ambani

  • Beginning net worth: $36.8 billion

  • Ending net worth: $78.2 billion

  • Amount gained: $41.4 billion

The net worth of Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani has increased by 112.5% during the pandemic. He leads Reliance Industries, which has diverse interests that include oil and gas, telecom, petrochemicals and retail.

See: 20 Hobbies of the Rich Only They Can Afford

SNEHIT / Shutterstock.com
SNEHIT / Shutterstock.com

Gautam Adani & Family

  • Beginning net worth: $8.9 billion

  • Ending net worth: $53 billion

  • Amount gained: $44.1 billion

Gautam Adani of India has made his billions in a variety of businesses, including infrastructure, mining and power generation. He controls Mundra Port, the largest in India, and in September 2020 gained a 74% ownership stake in Mumbai International Airport, according to Forbes.

Ben Margot/AP
Ben Margot/AP

Larry Ellison

  • Beginning net worth: $59 billion

  • Ending net worth: $112.7 billion

  • Amount gained: $53.7 billion

Tech billionaire Larry Ellison has added 91.02% to his net worth since mid-March 2020.

John Salangsang/BFA/REX/Shutterstock
John Salangsang/BFA/REX/Shutterstock

Sergey Brin

  • Beginning net worth: $49.1 billion

  • Ending net worth: $111.1 billion

  • Amount gained: $62 billion

The story of Sergey Brin is similar to that of Larry Page, his Google co-founder. Combined, the net worths of the two men were $100 billion pre-pandemic. Now, they total $225.9 billion -- an increase of 125.9%.

Kimberly White / Getty Images
Kimberly White / Getty Images

Larry Page

  • Beginning net worth: $50.9 billion

  • Ending net worth: $114.8 billion

  • Amount gained: $63.9 billion

Larry Page, the co-founder of Google, saw his net worth rise by 125.54%, presumably fueled by the rise in his stock holdings in Google's parent, Alphabet Inc. The stock has risen in value by about 150% since the start of the pandemic.

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Kyryl Gorlov / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Kyryl Gorlov / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Zhong Shanshan

  • Beginning net worth: $2 billion

  • Ending net worth: $70 billion

  • Amount gained: $68 billion

The wealth of Zhong Shanshan of China has skyrocketed by 3,400% since the pandemic's start. An elementary school dropout, he is the chairman of bottle water company Nongfu Spring and also runs Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy.

catwalker / Shutterstock.com
catwalker / Shutterstock.com

Mark Zuckerberg

  • Beginning net worth: $54.7 billion

  • Ending net worth: $132.3 billion

  • Amount gained: $77.6 billion

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has become 141.86% richer during the pandemic. Facebook was among the companies that helped to power the ability for Americans to work from home, doing so through WhatsApp.

Read: 14 Famous Companies That Aren’t Profitable

Pradeep Gaur/Mint
Pradeep Gaur/Mint

Jeff Bezos

  • Beginning net worth: $113 billion

  • Ending net worth: $207.7 billion

  • Amount gained: $94.7 billion

The richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos, has seen his wealth increase by 83.81% since the start of the pandemic. The fortune of the Amazon founder soared as quarantined consumers turned to the e-commerce giant for their shopping needs.

Martin Bureau/Afp Pool/EPA/REX
Martin Bureau/Afp Pool/EPA/REX

Bernard Arnault & Family

  • Beginning net worth: $76 billion

  • Ending net worth: $190.4 billion

  • Amount gained: $114.4 billion

As LVMH CEO, French billionaire Bernard Arnault oversees an empire of 70 luxury brands that include Louis Vuitton and Sephora. His net worth has risen by $114.4 billion during the pandemic.

In January 2021, LVMH acquired jeweler Tiffany & Co. for $15.8 billion.

Read: Bill Gates and 15 More Rich People Who Won’t Leave Money to Their Kids

John Raoux/AP/REX/
John Raoux/AP/REX/

Elon Musk

  • Beginning net worth: $24.6 billion

  • Ending net worth: $160.4 billion

  • Amount gained: $135.8 billion

The net worth of Tesla founder Elon Musk has grown by a whopping 552.03%, thanks in part to consumer interest in electric vehicles. Tesla stock is up about 770%.

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Jami Farkas contributed to the reporting for this article.

Photo disclaimer: Photos are for illustrative purposes only. As a result, some of the images may not reflect the people or companies listed in this article.

Methodology: To discover the 15 billionaires who gained the most wealth during the pandemic, GOBankingRates first looked at the 50 richest people in the world as sourced from Forbes' "Real-Time Billionaire Tracker" with data from July 27, 2021. Using this list, GOBankingRates found (1) net worth as of the end of trading on July 27, 2021. GOBankingRates then used Forbes' most recent billionaire list to find each of the top 50 richest billionaire's (2) net worth as of the end of trading on March 18, 2020. GOBankingRates then took the above factors to discover the following for each billionaire: (3) total amount gained or lost (March 18, 2020 to July 27, 2021) and (4) percent change in net worth during the entire COVID-19 pandemic thus far. All data was collected on and up to date as of July 27, 2021.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: These 15 Billionaires Got Richer During the Pandemic

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