How did he make his billions? The young Slim's Lebanese father made him record how he spent his pocket money. He learnt his lesson: by 26 he had made $400,000. From the mid-60s, he built up his Grupo Carso, with a bottling plant, construction company and real-estate firm, before moving into tobacco, restaurants and banking. Since 1990, he has dominated Mexican telecoms too. His 30% stake in wireless firm America Movil is worth $24 billion.
The secret of his success? Mexico's popular media put it down to Slim's powerful chums - the president among them. But he's a bold operator. In the early '80s, when other investors were bailing out, he picked up assets cheaply. Insurer Seguros de Mexico cost him $13 million in 1984; it's now worth $1.5 billion.