Many people may not recognize the names Mark Zuckerberg, John Arnold, or Yang Huiyan, but these young billionaires may be the next Carlos Slim or Bill Gates, the two richest men on the planet. The three topped a list of the world's 10 youngest billionaires published on Wednesday by the U.K. Times, quoting Forbes magazine.
At the top of the list is Zuckerberg, 25, the founder of social networking website Facebook, which has over 400 million users around the globe. He revealed a talent for programming as a teenager, and in 2004 started Facebook from his dorm room at Harvard University to help fellow students become friends by exchanging information and posting pictures and messages. The stunning success of the site has earned him some $4 billion and the title of the world's youngest self-made billionaire.
Yoshikazu Tanaka of Japan, 33, is called Asia's Zuckerberg as he also made his fortune ($1.4 billion) from a social networking site, Gree. During a short-term exchange program in the U.S., the Nihon University law student became interested in the Internet and in 2003 he founded Gree, which gained huge popularity in Japan.
John Arnold, the 36-year-old CEO of hedge fund Centaurus Energy, is second on the list with $4 billion. The former energy trader at Enron, which collapsed in an accounting fraud scandal in 2002, built a fortune by opportunely predicting fluctuations in natural gas prices. He founded the hedge fund with an $8 million bonus he received from Enron right before its bankruptcy and has expanded it to manage over $5 billion.
Kostyantin Zhevago of Ukraine, 36, stands alone on the list as the only European self-made billionaire. After graduating from Kiev National University of Trade and Economics, he landed a job at a local bank at the age of 19. Within four years he secured shares in the bank, and went on to acquire finance and mining firms to earn some $1.2 billion.
India's Shahid Balwa, also 36, began by opening a restaurant in Mumbai and then expanding into real estate, including hotels, to build an estimated fortune of $1 billion.
The list also includes those born with a silver spoon in their mouth: China's Yang Huiyan ($3.4 billion) and Lee Ziaohui ($1 billion), both 28 years old, the Hariri brothers, Fahd and Aymin, 29 and 31 years old respectively ($1.4 billion each), and Albert von Thurn und Taxis ($2.2 billion).
Yang inherited shares in Guangdong developer Country Garden from her father, Yang Guoqiang, while Lee, chairman of Shanxi Haixin Iron & Steel Group, also inherited his fortune from his father Lee Haicang.
The Hariri brothers received a large inheritance from their father, Rafiq Hariri, who rose from a humble start as a construction worker to become prime minister of Lebanon.