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Amazon founder becomes richest man in history

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Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has become the richest man in history with a personal fortune of an eye-watering $135 billion ($US105.1b), reported News.com.au (Australia).

A 1.4 per cent rise in Amazon’s share price made the New Mexico-born businessman $1.7 billion ($US1.4b) richer on Monday alone, The Sun reports.

His net worth grew by around $41.6 billion ($US32.6b) in 2017 alone, with the majority of it coming from the 78.9 million shares he owns in his company.

Mr Bezos, 53, was the first person to amass a 12-digit fortune since Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who has given more than $76 billion ($US60b) to charity, achieved the feat back in 1999.

Mr Gates, 62, who is reported to have a net worth of $118 billion ($93billion), would have been worth far more than Bezos had he not given so much away.

Unlike Mr Gates or investor Warren Buffett, who is worth an estimated $111 billion ($US87.2b), Mr Bezos has only recently started focusing on philanthropy.

The online retail magnate, who also owns space business Blue Origin LLC, tweeted a request on ways to help people in 2002.

He wrote: “I’m thinking about a philanthropy strategy that is the opposite of how I mostly spend my time.

“If you have ideas, just reply to this tweet with the idea and if you think this approach is wrong, would love to hear that too.”

In July, it emerged the sci-fi fanatic was a major backer of a Silicon Valley firm researching the so-called “elixir of life”.

Mr Bezos has invested an unknown amount of cash in Unity Biotechnology which is on a controversial mission to make the “the debilitating consequences of ageing as uncommon as polio”.

According to Forbes, 2017 was a record year for the ultra-rich with the number of billionaires in the world jumping 13 per cent to 2043.

Their net worth is reported to have increased by 18 per cent to $9.8 trillion ($US7.67trillion) in total — another record.

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