​​​​​​​India’s Ambani eclipses richest European to become world’s No 4

India’s richest person has already surpassed some of the biggest tycoons in recent weeks. (File pic)

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

Reliance Industries’ chairman is now worth US$80.6 billion, after amassing US$22 billion 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 SE 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 Inc co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, as well as the so-called Oracle of Omaha himself, 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 Inc and Google.

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 US$10 billion 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, Arnault has become the biggest loser among the world’s 500 richest people. His net worth has plunged US$25.1 billion to US$80.2 billion.