Mexico's Carlos Slim richest in world; Asia on rise

Mexico's Carlos Slim richest in world; Asia on rise

Mexico's telecommunication tycoon Carlos Slim kept his title for the second year as the world's richest person while billionaires have grown in number and their total net worth, estimated at 4.5 trillion dollars, Forbes Magazine said Wednesday.

But Asia-Pacific marked a rise on the annual list from last year, ranking only second with 332 billionaires after the US, with 413, prompting Forbes to call the region the "billionaire factory."

Asia-Pacific's 332 billionaires compared to 234 in 2010. Europe has 300 this year, the Middle East/Africa has 89 billionaires and the rest of the Americas apart from the US has 76 billionaires.

Of the world's top 10 billionaires, Slim is worth 74 billion dollars after dethroning Bill Gates of Microsoft last year in Forbes' list of billionaires around the world.

Gates, with 56 billion dollars, and Warren Buffett (Bershire- Hathaway (50 billion dollars) lag considerably behind in second and third place because they have donated so much of their money to good causes.

They were followed by Bernard Arnault of France (LVMH, 41 billion dollars); Larry Ellison of the US (Oracle, 39.5 billion dollars); Lakshmi Mittal of India (ArcelorMittal Steel, 31.1 billion dollars); Amancio Ortega of Spain (Zara, 31 billion dollars); Eike Batista of Brazil (mining, oil, 30 billion dollars); Mukesh Ambani of India (petrochemicals, gas, 27 billion dollars); and Christy Walton of the US (Wal-Mart, 26.5 billion dollars).

There were 1,210 billionaires in 2011, up from 1,011 in 2010. The world's richest have each an average net worth of 3.7 billion dollars, up from 3.5 billion dollars the previous year. The majority of billionaires's net worth went up.

The newest billionaires and probably the youngest are in the US. Social network Facebook's CEO Mark Zukerberg has gained 238 per cent in net worth for a total of 13.5 billion dollars and was listed 52nd on the list.

Two other Silicon Valley newcomer billionaires are Facebook's Sean Parker, worth 1.6 billion dollars, and Zunga's Mark Pincus with 1 billion dollars.

Forbes said the top industries for new billionaires are energy, fashion and retail, manufacturing, finance and diversified investment.

The list included 50 new billionaires, including Reinold Geiger of L'Occitane, with 1.4 billion dollars. Ikea's Ingvar Kamprad has seen his fortunes decreased by 17 billion dollars, to 6 billion dollars, due to tax issues.

Europe's 300 billionaires have a net worth of 1.3 trillion dollars, topped by Bernard Arnault of France, while the United States' 413 billionaires were worth an estimated 1.5 trillion dollars.

The United States also has the largest number of women billionaires: 45. Europe is next with 24 women and Asia-Pacific with 17.

China, with the world's second largest economy after the US, has 115 billionaires, followed by India's 55 billionaires, Hong Kong's 36 and Japan's 26.

While China has more billionaires than India, India's billionaires are richer with net worth averaging 4.5 billion dollars to China's 2.5 billion dollars.

Indonesia's billionaires have doubled to 14 this year, Forbes said.

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