Mexican magnate named world's richest man
THE Mexican telecoms magnate Carlos Slim Helu has been named the world's richest man, with a net worth of $53.5bn (€39bn), the first time since 1994 that the number one spot has been held by a non-American.
The annual billionaires list published by 'Forbes' magazine shows that the number of billionaires increased from 793 to 1,011.
Recovering financial markets and commodities and strong economic growth from some Asian-Pacific and Latin American economies, helped to increase the collective wealth of the world's richest by $2.4 trillion (€1.7tn) to $3.6tn (€2.6tn).
This works out at $3.5bn (€2.5bn) each, up from $3bn (€2.1bn) last year. Mr Slim added $18.5bn (€13.5bn) to his net worth. He beat Bill Gates by $500m (€366m), despite the Microsoft owner increasing his fortune by $13bn (€9.5bn) to $53bn (€38bn). It is the first time since 1995 that Mr Gates has not topped the list, which was accurate as of February 12.
Mr Slim's rise is part of a general shift of wealth away from America. Although the US still dominates the list with 403 billionaires, Americans now make up 40pc, against 45pc last year.
The Asia-Pacific region secured an 80pc gain in the number of billionaires, bringing the tally for the region to 234. Of the 97 billionaires making their debut, 62 are from Asia. Mainland China has the most billionaires outside the US with 64.
"What is striking is that Asia is leading the comeback," said Steve Forbes, the magazine's chief executive and editor-in-chief. (© The Times, London)