Nearly all wealth gained by world’s rich this year comes from AI

NVIDIA Corp co-founder Jensen Huang’s wealth has surged as a blistering rally in artificial intelligence (AI)-related stocks pushed the chipmaker’s market value above Inc’s for the first time.

The same rally has minted another billionaire in Huang’s own family: His distant cousin Lisa Su, CEO of Nvidia competitor Advanced Micro Devices Inc, who’s worth US$1.2 billion (RM5.68 billion) after the stock doubled over the past year.

Two chipmaker billionaires in one family illustrates the scope of the AI craze, which has come to dominate the stock market and accounts for most of the wealth gained by the world’s richest people this year.

Among the 500 wealthiest individuals, 30 attribute at least some of their fortune to companies that are tracked by the Bloomberg Global AI Index. Those holdings have boosted their net worth by a combined US$124 billion so far this year, accounting for 96% of the total wealth gained on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The biggest winners include Huang and Mark Zuckerberg, whose Meta Platforms Inc is the second-best performer on the S&P 500 Index after Nvidia for the second year in a row. Steve Ballmer has ridden the wave of optimism that accompanied Microsoft Corp’s partnership with OpenAI, while Michael Dell has seen his fortune surge thanks in part to AI initiatives at Dell Technologies Inc and Broadcom Inc.

Su isn’t the only new billionaire to emerge from the surge: Charles Liang, co-founder of Super Micro Computer Inc, has seen his fortune triple to US$6.2 billion this year as his company’s stock has easily eclipsed the returns of other AI-related shares. And Palantir Technologies Inc co-founder Alex Karp’s net worth is US$2.8 billion after the maker of AI-powered software’s shares jumped 31% in a single day two weeks ago following strong quarterly earnings.

Other billionaires have indirectly benefitted. SoftBank Group Corp founder Masayoshi Son’s net worth has risen by US$3.7 billion this year after chipmaker Arm Holdings Inc (ARM) nearly doubled in three trading sessions following earnings that showed AI spending is bolstering sales. ARM is 90% owned by SoftBank.

The magnitude of the gains is raising questions about the rally’s sustainability. Bank of America Corp strategist Michael Hartnett said earlier this month the rush into tech stocks is beginning to resemble the dot-com bubble. — Bloomberg

  • This article first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print edition