Carlos Slim Tops Gates, Buffett as World's Richest

Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helu is the world's richest person, edging Bill Gates out of the top spot, according to Forbes Magazine.

Carlos Slim
Alfredo Estrella | AFP | Getty Images
Carlos Slim

In its annual ranking of the world's richest people, Forbes lists the 70 year old Slim as number one with a net worth of $53.5 billion after adding $18.5 billion over the last year to his wealth.

It's the first time since 1994 that the number one position has been held by a non-US billionaire.

Slim controls Teléfonos de México (Telmex), Telcel and América Móvil companies. He also has a 6.4 percent common-stock stake in The New York Times Company , making him the largest shareholder not related to the company's owners. (see video below for a CNBC interview with Slim)

Meanwhile, Microsoft founder Bill Gates slips to number two with a net worth of $53 billion, marking only the second time he's been out of the top spot since 1995. That's despite the 54 year old Gates adding $13 billion of wealth over the past year. Gates spends his time as the head of the philanthropic Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

And Bershire Hathaway's Warren Buffett is number three, with a net worth listed at $47 billion. Forbes says Buffett's worth increased as the value of Berkshire shares grew by $10 billion over the past year.

Forbes ranking for 2010 lists 97 new billionaires, including 62 making their debut from Asia. And for the first time, mainland China has the most billionaires outside the US with 64, followed by Russia with 62. The US has 403 billionaires.

Eleven countries have at least twice as many billionaires as they did in 2009. The list represents a total of 55 countries with Pakistan and Finland adding their first-ever billionaires this year.

Making the top ten for the first time is this year’s biggest gainer—Brazilian Eike Batista at number nine, who is up $19.5 billion since last year. Bernard Arnault, ranked number seven, is Europe’s richest person for the first time with a net worth of $27.5 billion, up $11 billion in the past twelve months.

Forbes says the world’s billionaires have an average net worth of $3.5 billion, up $500 million in 2010. The top ten have a combined net worth of $342 billion, up from $254 billion from 2009: