Previously, Tadashi Yanai, owner of Uniqlo -- a world-renowned retailer and manufacturer of casual wear -- held the position as Japan's richest person.

But recently, Yanai's $35.5 billion net worth was overtaken by Takemistu Takikazi, founder of Keyence Corporation, an electronic sensor manufacturer.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Takizaki's net worth reached $38.2 billion, when Keyence's shares almost doubled starting from 2020 until now. On the other hand, Yanai has lost a fifth of his wealth just this year.

The COVIC-19 pandemic has proved how a major global incident can change the landscape of businesses. And in the case of the two billionaires, the factory automation business has overtaken the previously dominant casual wear retail business.

Blue-chip index

One other thing that pushed Keyence Corp's status even further is its recent inclusion in Japan's blue-chip equity index, the Nikkei 225 Stock Average.

"This positioning is likely to stay for a while. The big factor recently was being added to the Nikkei 225," Mitsushige Akino, a senior executive officer at Ichiyoshi Asset Management Corporation, said.

Keyence Corporation was founded in 1974 and slowly made a name in manufacturing and high-quality measuring instruments, machine-vision systems, and other equipment used for industrial automation. The company is known for its high-profit margins of more than 50% and high salaries of its employees.

The company's shares have also steadily increased in 2020 until it has reached 96% growth as of Monday's close, catapulting its value to $167 billion. With this new feat, it is now officially the second biggest company in Japan after automaker giant Toyota Motor.


As the global pandemic became the world's top problem, massive adjustments have been implemented, especially in social contact. This has led to a rise in demand for automated services and equipment because of the imposed social distancing.

And Keyence, with its decades of experience in the automation business, was well-positioned to accommodate the sudden high demand.

Takikazi owns 21% of the Keyence, and the company's rise has added nearly $6 billion into his already massive fortune, making him the ninth-richest man in Asia.

Yanai's wealth, meanwhile, has experienced a major blow, which led to a $9.7 billion loss, equivalent to 22% of his fortune.