Amazon.com chief executive Jeff Bezos has unseated fellow tech billionaire Bill Gates as the richest person in the world, profiting from the e-commerce company's meteoric stock rise to reach a fortune of US$90.6 billion (NZ$121 billion), Forbes reports.
Amazon shares jumped 1.6 percent at the start of trading on Thursday, boosting the net worth of Mr Bezos - the company's founder and largest shareholder - by US$1.4 billion (NZ$1.87 billion), according to Forbes, which tracks the world's wealthiest people.
The stock was up ahead of Amazon's second-quarter earnings report after Thursday's market close. Analysts expect the world's largest online retailer will report that its sales jumped 22 percent to US$49.7 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Mr Bezos, a relative newcomer to the top of Forbes' list, has benefited from the seemingly boundless expansion of Amazon into new markets.
The once-bookseller plans to acquire Whole Foods Market, at the same time it is making strides in the fashion business, Hollywood, enterprise computing and general retail from India to Mexico.
Reuters could not independently verify the wealth of Mr Bezos or Microsoft co-founder Mr Gates. A philanthropist, Mr Gates has given US$31.1 billion (NZ$41.5 billion) to charitable causes through 2016 and has a net worth of US$90.1 billion (NZ$120.3 billion), Forbes said.
Earlier this week, NBR released its annual New Zealand Rich List. Graeme Hart, as usual, came on top with a fortune worth NZ$7.5 billion - far ahead of second-placed Peter Thiel, a recent arrival.
In June, Mr Bezos asked his Twitter followers for philanthropic ideas.
Reuters / Newshub.