PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images
China now has 115 billionaires, according to Forbes. And in Shanghai, a statue of a rampaging bull was erected last year, inspired by a similar statue on New York's Wall Street.
China now has 115 billionaires, according to Forbes. And in Shanghai, a statue of a rampaging bull was erected last year, inspired by a similar statue on New York's Wall Street. PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images
There are now 1,210 billionaires in the world, with a combined net worth of $4.5 trillion, according to Forbes. And the richest of them all is Carlos Slim Helu of Mexico, who with a fortune of $74 billion tops Forbes' list of the Richest People in the World in 2011.
Helu, you may already know, made a pile of money through his companies Telmex and America Movil, a wireless and communications provider in Latin America. He is followed on the 2011 list by Bill Gates (Microsoft), Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway), Bernard Arnault (LVMH) and Larry Ellison (Oracle).
The Asian Pacific region added nearly 100 billionaires in the past year — the fastest growth among emerging markets, Forbes says. Here's more:
The region now has a record 332 billionaires, up from 234 a year ago and 130 at the depth of the financial crisis in 2009. Sizzling stock markets are behind the surge.
Three-fourths of Asia's 105 newcomers get the bulk of their fortunes from stakes in publicly traded companies, 25 of which have been public only since the start of 2010.
That paints a picture of rapid growth — especially if you consider that the U.S. has 413 billionaires, which is 6 percent more than last year.
According to Forbes, "Brazil, Russia, India and China produced 108 of the 214 new names. These four nations are home to one in four members, up from one in ten five years ago."
The list also shows the power of Facebook. As Reuters reports, six founders or investors of the social networking site are on the Forbes billionaires list this year:
Facebook co-founder and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg clocked in at No. 52 with an estimated worth of $13.5 billion, up from 212 and $4 billion in 2010.
Co-founders Dustin Moskovitz, the youngest billionaire on the Forbes list at 26, Eduardo Saverin, and investors Sean Parker and Russian Yuri Milner are new to the ranks. Rounding out Forbes' "Facebook Six" is investor Peter Thiel, who has moved down to 833 from 828, despite increasing his wealth to $1.5 billion from $1.2 billion.
Although Parker claims not to have said it, maybe the guys from Facebook really do believe that "A million dollars isn't cool. You know what's cool? A billion dollars" — as the character based on him famously said in The Social Network.
Forbes has also compiled a separate list of the richest Americans. And if you're wondering, Moscow now has the most billionaires of any city.