Mexico's Slim becomes world's richest person

16:14, March 11, 2010      

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Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim.

Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim is the world's richest person, jumping past Americans Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to become the first person from a developing nation to top the list, said a Forbes analytical report.

The rise of Slim, the son of an immigrant shopkeeper who amassed a US$53.5 billion fortune and bought a major stake in the New York Times, is part of an increased presence on the list of billionaires from emerging countries.

Slim's worth surged in the past year as his cell phone holdings rebounded in value. He is the first non-American to top the list since 1994.

Slim is known for wearing inexpensive suits and rarely using the computers his companies sell, preferring old-style paper notebooks. A baseball fan, his indulgences are largely limited to cigars and diet soft drinks.

While he owns — either personally or through his foundations and museums — an impressive collection of art, he works out of a set of somewhat dowdy, 1970s-style offices.

A civil engineer by training, he has bought up troubled or government owned companies of all types, fixed them up and resold them for huge profits.

Slim has donated to several causes. In January, he announced a $65 million donation for genetic research on cancer, diabetes and kidney disease in Mexico and Latin America.

Speaking to reporters in 2005, Slim described his philosophy.

"Wealth must be seen a responsibility, not as a privilege. The responsibility is to create more wealth. It's like having an orchard; you have to give away the fruit, but not the trees."

People's Daily Online / Agencies
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