Carlos Slim world’s richest person

Carlos Slim becomes the first non-U.S. citizen to top Forbes’ list of billionaires since 1994, the Mexican engineer and businessman largely focused on the telecommunications industry.

Slim has a substantial influence over the telecommunications industry in Mexico and much of Latin America. He controls Teléfonos de México (Telmex), Telcel and América Móvil companies.

Though he maintains an active involvement in his companies, his three sons—Carlos, Marco Antonio and Patrick Slim Domit—head them on a day-to-day basis.

The Mexican magnate’s rising fortune has caused a controversy because it has been amassed in a developing country where per capita income does not surpass $14,500 a year, and nearly 17% of the population lives in poverty.

Critics claim that Slim is a monopolist, pointing to Telmex’s control of 90% of the Mexican landline telephone market. Slim’s wealth is the equivalent of roughly 2% of Mexico’s annual economic output. Telmex, which is 49.1% owned by Slim and his family, charges among the highest usage fees in the world, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

According to Professor Celso Garrido, an economist at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Slim’s domination of his country’s conglomerates chokes off growth of smaller companies, resulting in a shortage of good jobs and driving many Mexicans to seek better lives north of the Rio Grande.

Slim says he is unfazed by the criticism: “When you live for others’ opinions, you are dead. I don’t want to live thinking about how I’ll be remembered”. He also claims indifference about his ranking and says he has no interest in becoming the world’s richest person.

When asked to explain his sudden increase in wealth at a press conference soon after Forbes annual rankings were published, he reportedly said, “The stock market goes up … and down”, and noted that his fortune could quickly drop.

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