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9. Sunil Mittal, 55

Net worth: $6.5 billion
From: India

Sunil Bharti Mittal is the founder of Bharti Enterprises and chairman of flagship firm Bharti Airtel, India's largest mobile service provider. Mittal is also India's eighth richest man, according to Forbes.

Mittal founded the group in 1976, at the age of 18, as a bicycle parts manufacturer with less than $500 from his father. The 55-year-old tycoon went on to establish Bharti Telecom, the first company in India to introduce push-button telephones in the 1980s and cordless phones a decade later. The group now has interests in retail, financial services and manufacturing, with operations in 20 countries.

Coming from a middle-class family in the north Indian city of Ludhiana to become one of India's richest men, Mittal told the Times of India in 2002 that he had started with a dream and was encouraged by his father, who was confident he would accomplish great things.

Mittal's twin sons Kavin and Shravin, 25, are also part of the Bharti group. Kavin is the head of strategy in a joint venture with Japanese telecom giant Softbank to develop social media, gaming, and e-commerce businesses in India.

Mittal, meanwhile, made headlines in March after he was ordered to appear in court in a case over alleged corruption in the allocation of mobile phone bandwidth more than a decade ago. Police have charged Bharti Airtel and two other firms that are now part of Vodafone's Indian unit over alleged irregularities in mobile spectrum allotment in 2002, Reuters reported.

Photo: Dibyangshu Sarkar | AFP | Getty Images