Carlos Slim Helu has become the richest person in the world. The 71-year-old Mexican telecom tycoon rose from third place last year to first place on Forbes magazine's 2010 World's Billionaires list, dethroning Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. Riding a 35 percent surge in the stock price of mobile operator America Movil, in which he is the largest shareholder, Slim's net worth rose US$18.5 billion over the past year to $53.5 billion. It is the first time a non-American has ranked atop the list since the U.S. business magazine began ranking the world's richest people 16 years ago, the BBC said.
Gates, who held the no.1 spot 14 times over the past 15 years, made $13 billion in 12 months thanks to a rise in Microsoft's stock price, but his fortune of $53 billion was $500 million shy of that of Slim. Investor Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway came in third with $47.9 billion, followed by India's richest man Mukesh Ambani ($29 billion), the chairman and largest shareholder of Reliance Industries, and steelmaker ArcelorMittal's chief Lakshmi Mittal ($28.7 billion).
The number of Koreans on the list almost tripled from 4 last year to 11 this year. Former Samsung Group chairman Lee Kun-hee ranked 100th with $7.2 billion, and his son Jae-yong came in 536th with $1.9 billion. Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group chairman Chung Mong-koo was the world's 249th richest man with $3.6 billion, while Kyobo Life Insurance chairman Shin Chang-Jae and Grand National Party lawmaker Chung Mong-joon shared 616th place, each with a fortune of $1.6 billion.
Lotte Group vice chairman Shin Dong-bin and his younger brother Dong-joo, the vice chairman of Lotte Japan, both ranked 655th with $1.5 billion each. Shinsegae Group chairwoman Lee Myung-hee came in 721st with $1.4 billion, and Hyundai Motor vice chairman Chung Eui-sun 773rd with $1.3 billion. LG Group chairman Koo Bon-moo and SK Group chairman Chey Tae-Won shared 880th place with $1.1 billion each.
Some 218 people were added to the list this year, bringing the total of billionaires in the world to 1,011.