Musk, Bezos and other tech billionaires lost over $500 billion of wealth in 2022

Will 2023 shrink their fortunes further?
Ameya Paleja
Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos
Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos

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The world's top tech billionaires have lost a combined $575 billion of their personal fortunes as the stock price of the companies they have founded have dropped significantly in 2022, Business Insider reported.

2021 was a great year for technology companies. As the world economy came to a grinding halt, growth for technology companies continued unabated and even increased as many businesses were forced to adopt technology products to keep their workforce connected and working.

Even as millions in the U.S. lost their jobs, already rich tech billionaires added a combined $2.1 trillion to their personal fortunes as stocks of tech companies soared while others tanked. 2022, on the other hand, has sucked the steam out of the tech stocks, which have lost their pandemic momentum.

Biggest tech billionaire losers

Former CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, lost nearly $20 billion of his personal fortune which was tied largely to Microsoft stock and the software company saw a dip in its operating system sales in 2022. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who also has investments in stocks of other companies, lost $28.6 billion on account of Microsoft's price drop of nearly 28 percent.

Zeng Yuqun, chairman of Contemporary Amperex Technology, the world's largest supplier of batteries for electric vehicles ended 2022 with a personal fortune of $32.5 billion, having lost over $20.7 billion in the year.

Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who own nearly 86 percent of parent company Alphabet's Class B shares, lost $89 billion together as digital advertising also took a nosedive after the U.S. Federal Bank hiked interest rates in 2022.

Mark Zuckerberg, who set a new course for his company by rebranding it as Meta in 2021 and was looking to build a new version of the internet called the metaverse, saw his personal wealth crumble by a whopping $79.9 billion and his exit from the top 10 of the world's richest people as well.

Changpeng "CZ" Zhang's drop in fortune was even greater as the cofounder of Binance lost $83.3 billion, and the prices of cryptocurrencies crashed and investors withdrew billions from the platform.

Former CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, saw his company's stock price drop by 50 percent in 2022 and lost $85.2 billion. His ex-wife, MacKenzie Scott, who holds a three percent stake in the company, lost $37.3 billion during the same period.

But nobody could match the losses that Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, SpaceX as well as the recently acquired Twitter, faced in 2022. After riding the pandemic wave that saw his personal fortune swell beyond $300 billion, Musk became poorer by $132 billion in 2022.

What will 2023 be like?

Musk, who was among those who warned of an incoming recession, would rather prefer that his prediction not come true, as the ales of his EVs are expected to be impacted as well.

Tech companies have begun bracing for the turbulent times expected ahead by slashing jobs and cutting expenditures on advertising and fresh hires. Unless the U.S. Federal Bank stops hiking interest rates, the situation is unlikely to see a turn. A spending freeze might lock the economy into a recession that could take a while to get out of.