Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.
  • Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk just became the third-richest person in the world, surpassing Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
  • Musk's fortune reached $115.4 billion (almost R2 trillion) after a Tesla stock split sent shares surging, according to Bloomberg
  • By comparison, South Africa's GDP was estimated at R5.1 trillion last year.
  • Musk's wealth has grown $87.8 billion (R1.5 trillion) this year alone, but the South African-born entrepreneur doesn't appear to spend lavishly: he recently tweeted that he wanted to sell "almost all" of his physical belongings, and that he would "own no house." 
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South African-born Elon Musk just reached a new milestone: he became the third-richest person in the world. 

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO on Monday saw his net worth reach $115.4 billion (almost R2 trillion), according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He is now wealthier than Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who has a fortune of $110.8 billion, and comes in behind Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates at No. 2 and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos at No. 1, whose fortune has surpassed $200 billion.

Musk's net worth is now almost 40% of the size of South Africa's economy last year, which was R5.1 trillion according to Statistics SA.  

Musk's wealth has soared amid the coronavirus pandemic: According to Bloomberg, his fortune has grown $87.8 billion this year alone. On Monday, Tesla's stock split sent shares surging as much as 12%, which resulted in Musk's bump up the Billionaires Index. 

Despite his massive accumulation of wealth, Musk has frequently spoken about his disinterest in his own personal fortune. In May, Musk tweeted that he wanted to sell "almost all" of his physical belongings, and that he would "own no house." Since then, he's reportedly agreed to sell four of his Los Angeles properties, which were listed for a total of $62.5 million, to a luxury real estate developer. 

Earlier this year, Musk's girlfriend, the musician Grimes, defended his wealth in an interview with Rolling Stone, arguing that he reinvests the money into making the world a better place. Grimes said that Musk puts his fortune "into R&D to make the world better" and "puts every single ounce of his energy in everything he cares about. It's not as if Musk is "buying yachts" with his billions, Grimes said. 

Musk doesn't appear to spend as lavishly as other billionaire CEOs, with his LA real estate portfolio appearing to be his biggest personal expenditure. Musk has signed the Giving Pledge, vowing to donate the majority of his wealth in his lifetime or in his will. 

Additional reporting by Business Insider SA.

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