After more than a decade of American names ruling the top spots in Forbes richest people in the world list, the top spot has now been taken over by a Mexican tycoon. Mexican telecom magnate Carlos Slim has been named the world’s richest person by the magazine. What is more, he is also the first person from a developing country to top this list. The son of an immigrant shopkeeper who amassed a $53.5 billion fortune and bought a major stake in the New York Times, Slim has toppled Americans Bill Gates and Warren Buffet to take this top spot. Slim’s Telmex Company controls 83 percent of land phone lines in Mexico and is also the leading Internet service provider. Slim’s worth surged in the past year as his cell phone holdings rebounded in value.
The billionaire’s son in law, Elias Ayub, expressed satisfaction at this great feat but said his 70-year-old father in law considers this no cause for celebration. Said he, “This is a number brought out by a magazine that doesn’t concern us, or worry us.” Although a billionaire, Slim is not known for his lavish lifestyle. In fact, the tycoon’s indulgences are limited to just cigars and diet soft drinks. 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. His conglomerate of retail, telecom, manufacturing, and construction companies has helped him bag this coveted spot.
But Slim is not the only Non-American to feature in the Forbes 2010 list. Two Indian billionaires and one from Brazil have managed to find a spot in the top ten names on this list. This change in the list clearly indicates the increasing presence and growth of developing countries.