Black Friday share surge pushes Jeff Bezos' wealth over $US100b

Amazon founder consolidates his position as the planet's richest human — but the reason he's ahead of Bill Gates is unflattering.
Jeff Bezos is not the first to break through the barrier.

Amazon shares rose up to 2% today on news that US shoppers spent 17% more than last year on "Black Friday" (the day after Thanksgiving and the official start of the Christmas shopping season when retailers are supposed to make their profits for the year – or get into the black).

The move consolidated Jeff Bezos' recently-seized position as the planet's richest human on Forbes' billionaires list.

With his latest move, the Amazon founder has broken through the $US100 billion mark for the first time (Forbes' puts him at $US100.6 billion, largely tied to his stake in Amazon, which now has a $US577 billion market cap following an 18% rise over the past 12 months).

Mr Bezos (53) is not the first person to break that milestone, even if inflation is ignored.

Bill Gates (now 62) hit it as a 44-year-old back in 1999.

The Microsoft founder now sits at No 2 on Forbes' list with a wealth of $US89.5 billion.

Bloomberg notes if Mr Gates hadn't donated 700 million Microsoft shares to his charitable foundation, he would be worth more than $US150 billion today. There could be a lesson for Mr Bezos in there.

Meanwhile, Amazon continues to expand. The e-tail, cloud computing and streaming video giant is in the process of launching a fulfilment centre in Melbourne. Analysts are split over whether it will hop across the Tasman to New Zealand's smaller market.

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