Telecom tycoon beats out Gates for top billionaire

Microsoft founder Bill Gates is the second richest man on the planet, according to Forbes, but Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helu takes the top spot again. Other tech players rank high on list.

Lance Whitney Contributing 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.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

Forbes' latest list of the world's billionaires still points to Bill Gates and other familiar faces in the tech world, but Mexican telecommunications tycoon Carlos Slim Helu again took first place as the richest.

Carlos Slim Helu
Carlos Slim Helu carlosslim.com

Helu, whose family fortune is estimated by Forbes at $74 billion, up from $53.5 billion last year, owns America Movil, Latin America's largest wireless carrier. But the mogul upped his wealth over the past year through a series of mining and real estate deals as well as gains in the peso and the Mexican stock market.

Still in no slouch in second place, Microsoft founder Bill Gates is worth $56 billion after having given away $30 billion through the Gates Foundation in an effort to combat disease, hunger, and other global problems. Seventy percent of his wealth is held in an investment fund, while the rest is in Microsoft stock.

Another billionaire well known in the tech world is Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, who made fifth place with a net worth of $39.5 billion. That marks an $11.5 billion increase since last year courtesy of a 30 percent gain in Oracle's stock price. Though he slashed his salary as head of Oracle to $1 in 2009, he's managed to scoop up $960 million in compensation over the past five years, according to Forbes, mainly from cashing in on stock options.

Further down the list were such tech players as Google founder Larry Page and Sergey Brin, each one with fortunes of $19.8 billion thanks in large part to the huge run-up in Google stock. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos made the list with a net worth of $18.1 billion, now $5.8 billion richer than last year as the price of Amazon stock has shot up 50 percent, according to Forbes.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg Facebook

With the growing popularity of Facebook, its founder Mark Zuckerberg joined the billionaires club last year and now is back with a net worth of $13.5 billion. A big jump from his $4 billion fortune in 2010, Zuckerberg's wealth grew by 238 percent thanks to funding from investment firms such as Goldman Sachs, which increased Facebook's valuation to $50 billion.

Tracking the spread of wealth around the world for the past 25 years, Forbes found that the combined fortunes of all the world's billionaires this year hit $4.5 trillion. To rank the planet's richest people, more than 50 Forbes reporters worked throughout 13 different countries to tally each person's public holdings, private companies, real estate, art, and other possessions.