Worth $53.5 billion, Mexican mobile tycoon Carlos Slim Helu is now the world's richest man, according to Forbes, putting Bill Gates in second place with only $53 billion.
Lance WhitneyContributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Though Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates is worth $53 billlion, he is now only the world's second richest man, according to Forbes.
Carlos Slim Helu, a Mexican telecommunications tycoon, has earned the title as the world's richest man, worth an estimated $53.5 billion. A self-made billionaire, Helu holds a controlling interest in several Mexican telecommunications companies, including American Movil, the largest mobile phone business in Latin America. His net worth climbed $18.5 billion just in the past year.
Second-place Bill Gates, who gave up the reins of Microsoft in 2008 to focus on philanthropic efforts, saw his net fortune grow $13 billion this past year, thanks in part to a 50 percent jump in the price of Microsoft stock. Gates and his wife now run the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is devoted to fighting hunger, disease, and other problems around the world.
Another tech mogul high on Forbes' list of the world's billionaires is Oracle head Larry Ellison in sixth place with a net worth of $28 billion. Shares of Oracle shot up 70 percent in the past year, while Ellison is currently enjoying the victory of his hard-fought battle to acquire Sun Microsystems.
Other familiar faces on the list include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at $14.5 billion, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen at $13.5 billion, Dell founder Michael Dell also at $13.5 billion, and Apple's Steve Jobs at $5.5 billion.
The older, traditional tech titans such as Gates and Ellison are being joined by the next generation of billionaires. Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page both made it to the list in 24th place, each with a net worth of $17.5 billion boosted by a 70 percent rise in the price of Google shares this past year. Google's current chief, Eric Schmidt, also hit the list with a fortune valued at $6.3 billion.
Thanks to the growing surge of social networking, 25-year-old Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg hopped onto the list as the world's youngest billionaire enjoying a fortune of $4 billion. Last year, Facebook finally hit a positive cash flow, taking in more money than it spent and witnessing a 130 percent jump in users in the past year to 400 million, noted Forbes.
Another beneficiary of the social media craze has been Yoshikazu Tanaka, founder of Japanese social networking and gaming site Gree. At 33, Tanaka made the Forbes list for the first time this year as the world's second youngest billionaire with a net worth of $1.4 billion.
To create its annual list of the world's 1,011 billionaires, Forbes said it sends out more than 40 reporters throughout 13 different countries to investigate the assets and estates of the usual list of suspects. Counted in each billionaire's net worth are holdings in public and private companies, real estate, art, jewelry, boats, planes, and, of course, lots of cash.