Mexican telecom giant tops Forbes billionaire list

14:37, March 11, 2010      

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Forbes Magazine released its 2010 billionaire list Wednesday in New York, and Mexican Telecom titan Carlos Slim Helu took the title of the world's richest person from Bill Gates' pocket with a total net worth of $53.5 billion.

"For the third time in three years, the world has a new richest man," the magazine said.

Slim's fortune rose $18.5 billion in 12 months and he ranked third in the 2009 rankings. Shares of America Movil, of which Slim owns a $23 billion stake, were up 35 percent in a year.

Gates, the richest man last year, fell to second place with assets worth $53 billion. Master investor Warren Buffett, whose net worth increased by $10 billion to $47 billion, dropped from second to third.

This year's billionaires own a total net worth of $3.6 trillion, 50 percent up from $2.4 trillion in 2009, and their average worth was up $500 million to $3.5 billion.

In addition, the number of billionaires has soared from 793 last year to 1,011 this year.

"The global economy is recovering, and is reflected in what you see in this year's list," said Steve Forbes, chairman, CEO and editor- in-chief of Forbes Magazine.

The rich list still has the most Americans, but their grip is slipping. Americans account for 40 percent of the world's billionaires, down from 45 percent a year ago. The Americans' wealth makes up 38 percent of the collective net worth of the world's richest, down from 44 percent a year ago.

Among this year's 97 newcomers, 62 made their debut from Asia, "a region that saw swelling stock markets and several large public offerings during the past year," Forbes Magazine said.

China has 64 billionaires on the list, up from last year's 28, and becomes the country with the second-most billionaires.

Zong Qinghou, founder and chairman of Wahaha, a Zhejiang-based beverage giant, is the richest among Chinese billionaires, ranking 103rd place in the list with a wealth of $7 billion.

Chairman of Suning Appliance Zhang Jindong ranked 176th place with $4.5 billion and Wang Chuanfu, the founder of Chinese battery and electric car maker BYD, followed him closely with $4.4 billion.

Twenty-five billionaires from Hong Kong are also on the list and Li Ka-shing ranked 14th with a wealth of $21 billion.

Source: Global Times
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