March 10, 2011 6:18 AM GMT
The World's 10 Richest Men in 2011 (PHOTOS)
On Wednesday, Forbes magazine unveiled its 25th annual ranking of the richest men on the planet based on the reporting of 50 journalists across 13 countries.
These reporters not just meet with these candidates and those associated with them, but also minutely track their moves such as the deals they negotiate, their real estate transactions, their luxury purchases and the causes they give to.
The final net worth of these billionaires are based on a valuation of the individuals' assets, including stakes in public and private companies, real estate, yachts, art and cash-and also account for debt.
The 2011 ranking reinforces the observed shifts in global economic power with a steep increase in the number of billionaires from the emerging BRIC economies: the number of billionaires from China almost doubled to 115, while with 101 and 30 representations respectively, Russia and Brazil saw a two-thirds jump. India had 55, which is six more than last year's representation.
However, the top ten list, though it has has not changed much in composition from last year has seen some significant repositioning within; the only newcomer, however, is Christy Walton (and family) of Walmart-fame who moved up two slots from #12 to replace Karl Albrecht.
Start slideshow to view a gallery of the 10 richest billionaires in the world today in order of rank:
1. Carlos Slim Helu (& family) - Mexico
[2010 Rank: 1]
Education: BA/BS, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico
Fortune: $ 74 billion (up $20.5 billion)
Recent Headlines: Merged his fixed-line telecom company into America Movil, Latin America's largest wireless carrier; Opened a new museum which houses his vast art collection, named after his wife Soumaya
2. William (Bill Gates) – United States
[2010 Rank: 2]
Education: Dropout from Harvard University
Fortune: $ 56 billion (up $3 billion)
Recent Headlines: Donated $30 billion of his wealth to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation which is working tirelessly towards eradication of tuberculosis and polio and poverty/hunger; Campaigning for "a higher sense of urgency" in AIDS vaccine development and also pushing for improved technology tools to rate teacher performance.
3. Warren Buffett – United States
[2010 Rank: 3]
Education: MS, Columbia University; BA/BS, University of Nebraska Lincoln
Fortune: $50 billion (up $3 billion)
Recent Headlines: Investment in Chinese electric car startup BYD Co.; proposed investments in India; Partnered with Bill Gates to convince America's richest to pledge half their fortunes to charity
4. Bernard Arnault – France
[2010 Rank: 7]
Education: BA/BS, Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne
Fortune: $41 billion (up $13.5 billion)
Recent Headlines: Spectacular performance of his luxury goods group LVMH; Acquisition by the Luis Vuitton group of stake in Hermes and Bulgari; Firing of Christian Dior designer John Galliano over his anti-Semitic remarks
5. Larry Ellison – United States
[2010 Rank: 6]
Education: Dropout, University of Chicago and University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
Fortune: $39.5 billion (up 11.5 billion)
Recent Headlines: Win in the copyright infringement court battle against German software rival SAP worth $1.3 billion; Role in San Francisco’s successful bid to host the America's Cup regatta in 2013 (where Ellison is currently the defending champion); Intends to donate 95% of his wealth to charity
Lakshmi Mittal - India
[2010 Rank: 5]
Education: BA/BS, St Xavier's College Calcutta, India
Fortune: $31.1 billion (up $2.4 billion)
Recent Headlines: Spectacular rise in net profits at his steel conglomeration Arcelor Mittal; Spin off of its stainless steel unit; acquisition of Canadian miner Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation; Funding of a 377-foot sculpture called ArcelorMittal Orbit in London's Olympic Park for the 2012 Olympics; Plans to build a 30 million pound eco-mansion on the outskirts of London which designers claim will have zero carbon footprint
Amancio Ortega - Spain
[2010 Rank: 9]
Education: Not Known; son of a railway worker, he is said to have started his career as a gofer in a shirt store
Fortune: $31 billion (up $6 billion)
Recent Headlines: Announced his retirement as chairman of Inditex, the $15.8 billion (sales) fashion firm in January; Controversy over Inditex copying bloggers’ fashion designs from the Internet
Eike Batista - Brazil
[2010 Rank: 8]
Education: Dropout, RWTH Aachen University
Fortune: $30 billion (up $3 billion)
Recent Headlines: Opened office in New York and expressed plans of listing some of his companies in the London Stock exchange; Acquisition of Canadian gold outfit Ventana; Rare setback through the not-so-great reception to the IPO of his ship-building venture
Mukesh Ambani - India
[2010 Rank: 4]
Education: Dropout, Stanford University; BA/BS, University of Bombay
Fortune: $27 billion (down $2 billion)
Recent Headlines: Recent partnership with BP worth $7.2 billion, which is being touted as the biggest foreign investment in India and will see a marketing joint venture; $3.3-billion investment in three American energy firms; much-hyped inauguration of a 27-story personal mansion in the heart of Mumbai
2. Christy Ruth Walton ($22.5-billion)
Christy Walton, 56, is the wealthiest member of the family that runs the retailing giant Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT). She is the widow of John T. Walton, who was a son of Wal-Mart’s founder, Sam Walton. After John's death in June 2005, she inherited his fortune of $15.7 billion.
The bulk of the current wealth comes from her ownership of shares in Wal-Mart, but also from owning stock in First Solar (NYSE: FSLR), which her late husband wisely invested in.
She lives in Jackson, Wyoming and is noted for her extraordinary charitable and philanthropic endeavors.