Mexican telecommunications baron Carlos Slim (pictured) has overtaken Microsoft owner Bill Gates and legendary investor Warren Buffet to take the top spot in a list of the world's richest people.
Slim, who runs the empire with his family, has an estimated fortune of $53.5 billion, which he increased by $18.5 billion last year. He is the first non-American to top the list in 16 years. Gates and Buffet come in second and third with an estimated $53 billion and $47 billion respectively.
Many prominent business-owning families feature on the list published yesterday by Forbes. Mukesh Ambani, second-generation Reliance chief and Asia's richest man, is fourth with $29 billion. He is closely followed by steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal in fifth, who is worth an estimated $28.7 billion.
LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault came in seventh, topping the list of Europeans, with $27.5 billion, suggesting the luxury goods market is still flourishing. Aldi owners brothers Karl and Theo Albercht are ranked 10th and 31st with fortunes of $23.5 billion and $16.7 billion. Ingvar Kamprad and his family, owners of the IKEA furniture stores, are 11th with a net worth of $23 billion.
Wal Mart's founding family, the Waltons, take 12th, 15th, 16th and 18th place on the list with a combined fortune of over $82 billion that is split between the family. Stefan Persson, whose family own and run the Swedish clothing retailer H&M, ranks 13th with $22.4 billion. Li Ka-shing, the head of family-owned conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa, appears 14th with $21 billion.
Despite having given nearly a billion away in gifts to a close friend, Liliane Bettencourt, the second-generation head of cosmetic giant L'Oreal, is still inside the top 20 on the world rich list coming in at 17th with her $20 billion fortune.
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