Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa’s expanding list of cash-fuelled bragging rights includes Picassos, Bugatti supercars and a ticket on Elon Musk’s rocket to the moon. He can now add to that collection the mantle of having the most-ever retweeted Twitter post. For the honour, the founder of Japan’s second-largest online shopping site Zozo will be paying out a total of 100 million yen ($920,000) to 100 lucky people who shared the post. Seeking to be one of the randomly chosen winners, Maezawa’s audience retweeted his post a record 3.8 million times, and gave it more than 900,000 “likes.”
The previous record holder for retweets was a college student in the US whose goal was to get a year’s free supply of chicken nuggets from the Wendy’s fast-food franchise, according to Statista. That post had 3.58 million retweets and 990,000 likes. Ellen DeGeneres’s 2014 Oscars selfie with Hollywood stars including Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie was second with 3.3 million retweets.
“To participate, all you have to do is follow me and RT this tweet,” Maezawa wrote on January 5. The tweet featured a picture of a man astride a rocket silhouetted against full moon, in a style of the iconic image from the movie “E.T.”
Maezawa also touted that his shopping site Zozotown reached 10 billion yen in merchandise volume during a New Year’s sale. The business is the main source of the 43-year-old’s $1.7 billion in net worth, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Zozo’s shares jumped as much as 6.9 per cent in Tokyo.
Maezawa, who was relatively unknown outside Japan until recently, has sought to raise his global profile to make Zozo a leading global clothing brand within a decade. In September, he was introduced as the first passenger on a flight to the moon scheduled for 2023, on a rocket built by Musk’s SpaceX. Maezawa made a splash in the art world in 2017 when he spent $110.5 million on a single Jean-Michel Basquiat painting at a Sotheby’s auction, setting a record for an American artist’s work at the time. He tweets under the handle @yousuck2020 and his number of followers has surged to 4.27 million, from a little over 500,000 before his giveaway promotion.