Elon Musk’s New Year’s hangover is showing some staying power. While 2024 is not even 48 hours old, the ride has already been a little bumpy for the world’s richest man.
Both Tesla and X/Twitter saw significant blows in the early hours of the year (starting with the final moments of 2023), with one losing its dominant position in its industry and the other being dismissed by one of the leading influencers in social media, just as reports emerged about its shrinking worth.
As 2023 wound to a close, YouTuber MrBeast rejected an appeal by Musk to post his incredibly popular videos to X, saying it made no financial sense.
“My videos cost millions to make, and even if they got a billion views on X, it wouldn’t fund a fraction of it,” he wrote in a Tweet replying to Musk on December 30.
MrBeast, whose real name is Jimmy Donaldson, did add that he would be willing to test videos on the site “once monetization is really cranking.”
It’s unclear if that will happen in the near term, though. A new report from Fidelity has once again lowered the financial services firm’s estimate on X’s overall worth. The mutual fund now says the social media platform is worth 71.5% less than it was at the time of purchase, according to a report in Axios. That report was released on December 31, but the valuation was through the end of November, as Fidelity values private shares on a one-month delay.
The downgrade came after Musk’s onstage tirade against advertisers where he told those who were boycotting the platform to “go f**k yourself.” The latest cut represented a drop of more than 10% from Fidelity’s previous valuation of the platform.
Fidelity is a shareholder in X. The company invested more than $300 million to finance Musk’s takeover of the site. That saved him from spending as much of his own money, but it has proved to be a source of embarrassment, as Fidelity’s valuation disclosures have been key in showing how fast the site has fallen from grace.
But the biggest New Year sting for Musk likely came on the Tesla side. While the electric vehicle manufacturer beat Q4 sales estimates and delivered just over 484,000 cars to customers, that wasn’t enough to top the numbers from China’s BYD.
BYD delivered 1.58 million fully electric cars in 2023. Tesla’s annual sales were 1.81 million vehicles.
That meant, for the first time, Tesla was no longer the sales leader of fully electric cars. Worse, it was unseated by a company that Musk publicly dismissed over a decade ago.
“Have you seen their car?” Musk said in a Bloomberg interview in 2011. “I don’t think they make a good product.”
Among the people who disagreed with him was Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway has invested in BYD, turning a $232 million gamble into more than $9 billion today.
BYD’s success came despite dramatic price cutting by Tesla last year, which indicates a wider sales gap could occur in 2024.
(And despite losing the sales title, it’s worth noting Tesla did meet its 2023 delivery target. The stock was largely unchanged in trading Tuesday.)
Neither Tesla nor Twitter replied to Fast Company’s requests for comment.