Carlos Slim, How Mexico’s Richest Man Built A Multi-Billion Business Empire

By Abijah Keru on April 16 2014

Photo by itupictures / CC BY 2.0

Carlos slim has made great strides as an entrepreneur and telecom tycoon. The Mexican telecommunications industry has been kind to the Mexican investor and business magnate. Between 2005-2007, Carlos is estimated to have made $20 million daily from his extensive holdings and business ventures. 

Over 200 companies are under his thumb, and he also controls the largest share of two mega telecommunications companies:  Telmex and América Móvil.

The telecom mogul held the title of the richest man on the planet from 2010-2013 before he was trounced by Bill Gates in 2014.  But Carlos is still in the billionaire’s club with a striking fortune estimated at $69.67 billion.

Early Business Intellect

Carlos Slim was born in 1940 in Mexico City. His father was a Lebanese immigrant who came to Mexico when he was fourteen years old fleeing the conscription of the Ottoman Empire. His father had enjoyed success as a merchant and had made a fortune in real estate. Julian slim, Carlos’ father, saw it fit to pass his brilliance to his sons.

By the age of 17, Carlos was already investing in the stock market. Slim went on to receive a degree in Civil engineering from the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

Even though his passion was in business, Carlos explains that being an engineer was one of the smartest choices he ever made. Experimental and exact science served as a strong basis for his business.

An Investing Genius

By mid 1960s, Carlos had become an investment guru and had gone ahead to establish his own brokerage firm. He was investing in a myriad of individual businesses including restaurants, retail and construction. His business skills and strategic investments saw him rise in the ranks of the rich and by 1966 Carlos was worth $40 million.

Making The Most Of Opportunities

In 1982, Mexico faced an economic crash. Banks and other businesses crippled or collapsed and, the peso became devalued. During this period, Carlos invested heavily and bought a variety of companies at low prices. His goal was to revamp them from their bad conditions and make a fortune in the process. He managed his investments so well, that the undervalued businesses rose up from the dumps within a decade.

Acquisition of Telmex

In 1990, Slim made a smart move that would see him join the billionaire ranks. He led the consortium that included France Telecom and Southwestern Bell to buy the state-owned telephone company Telmex from the government of Mexico. Slim invested $10 billion to modernize the dwindling telephone company.

By 2012, Carlos had transformed Telmex into a world-class technological platform. Telmex had invested almost $27.692 billion in Mexico’s telecommunications infrastructure and by now, it had become a dominant player in the market operating more than 90% of the telephone lines in Mexico.

Down To Earth Lifestyle 

Seeing billionaires splurge their wealth on jets, super cars and mansions has become a norm. Nevertheless, some billionaires opt to live a frugal lifestyle and stash their money in bank accounts or better still donate their bucks to charitable causes. We present Mr. Carlos Slim a man who has been ranked as the world’s richest man from 2010-2013 yet still maintains a modest lifestyle.

So what does he do when the billions start to pileup, you may ask? Well, he doesn’t like to spoil himself Carlos has donated over $5 billion to his Carlos Slim foundation. He lives in a modest 6 bedroom house and still prefers to drive himself to work. 

Lessons From Carlos Slim

  • With your education, talent, and efforts work for the right changes and make the world a better place.
  • See the opportunities not problems. Chronic pessimism leads to mediocrity.
  • Let passion drive you. Not how fast your bank account is growing.
  • Being a successful entrepreneur requires focus, sheer determination and responsibility.
  • Remember to give back to the society

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Abijah is a journalism student who has a great passion for writing. She enjoys penning down her thoughts and sharing them with the world.

"If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants." Isaac Newton

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