As Alibaba shares surged over 35% to open at $92.70, founder and chairman Jack Ma’s stake in the company he founded boosted his net worth over $16 billion. That Alibaba stake pushes Ma above his rivals to the #1 spot as the wealthiest man in China. Ma’s total net worth grows higher when you calculate the $800 million in cash he pocketed by selling shares, which should rise to more than $1 billion once underwriters exercise their extra options. Ma also has separate stakes in private companies like Alibaba sister-company Alipay.
Ma’s rise to the top puts him ahead of former #1, Robin Li, another Chinese tech icon who founded search engine Baidu . Li sits at a net worth of $16.6 billion. Ma also leapfrogged the $15.5 billion man Pony Ma, whose Tencent is directly in competition with Alibaba over China’s growing mobile phone user base.
Ma’s net worth gain also places him into the top 10 richest people in tech worldwide, a group that includes Silicon Valley pioneers Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Mark Zuckerberg, and Larry Page and Sergey Brin.