10 Things You Didn’t Know About Carlos Slim Helu & Family

In the world of global finance and business magnates, Carlos Slim Helu is a name that echoes with prowess and unprecedented success. As he constantly competes for the top spot on Forbes’ list of the world’s wealthiest people, there is more to Carlos Slim than what meets the eye. Here are ten things you might not of known about Carlos Slim Helu and his family.

1. Slim’s Heritage

To start with, many might not be aware of Carlos’s descent. Slim was born in Mexico City to Lebanese Immigrant parents. His father, Julian Slim Haddad, moved to Mexico in 1902, escaping the unstable and oppressive conditions in Lebanon at the time. His mother, Linda Helu, was born in Parral, Chihuahua, of Lebanese parents.

The influence of his parent’s entrepreneurial ambitions was evident in Slim’s early business adventures, a trait which he claims to have received from his father. He was taught basic business practices at the tender age of 12, and at age 15, Slim invested in a government savings bond that distinguished his knack for financial growth.

2. Philanthropic Wisdom

Contrary to the run-of-the-mill philanthropist, Carlos Slim has a different approach towards charity. According to him, charity doesn’t solve anything, instead, he emphasises on creating job opportunities for the less fortunate as a means of helping them not to just survive, but thrive.

Incredible as it might sound, he further elaborates that poverty isn’t solved with donations, but with companies that create employment and development, thereby offering a more solid, long-term solution to poverty. A different approach that certainly makes a lot of sense and brings us to question the traditional methods of tackling global poverty.

3. A Strong Belief in Emerging Markets

Slim’s business interests are vast and extend into many sectors, but all are primarily based in Mexico. He has always shown a strong belief in investing in emerging markets, even amidst crises. He is a firm believer in the potential growth and return from these markets, which he considers undervalued bargains.

For instance, during the economic crises in 1982 and 1994, while most were skeptical about the Mexican economy, Slim invested heavily, buying out companies at reduced prices. This strategy paid off as the economy recovered, and his investments skyrocketed in value.

4. Art Collector and Patron

Although known for his business acumen and financial wisdom, Slim has a softer side that nourishes art and culture. His art collection is one of the largest and most private collections globally, consisting of over 66,000 pieces spanning three centuries.

He owns the Museo Soumaya in Mexico City, named after his late wife, which houses these artistic wonders. From European old masters to Mexican modernists, his collection trace the trajectory of Western art history and is open to the public for free, further highlighting his commitment to promoting culture and art from past to present.

5. Frugality and Modesty

Despite his affluence, Carlos Slim leads a surprisingly modest lifestyle. He is known for his frugality and unpretentiousness. Regardless of his wealth that surpasses hundreds of billions, he lives in a six-bedroom house in Mexico City, where he has stayed for the last four decades.

Slim doesn’t believe in opulence. He is often seen in public with no bodyguards or a flashy motorcade. Unlike his billionaire companions, he doesn’t own any yachts or planes. For him, wealth should be efficiently reinvested into businesses, creating further wealth and jobs for society.

6. Thrived on America Movil

One of Slim’s most successful ventures is America Movil, the biggest mobile telecom firm in Latin America. It is also the source of a significant portion of his wealth. His domination in the mobile and telecom sectors across Latin America is noteworthy; for instance, in 2012, his company held 70% of the total mobile services and 80% of the landlines in Mexico.

However, Slim wasn’t handed these on a silver platter; they are fruits of strategic investments and successful enterprise management. In 1990, he invested heavily in buying the state-owned phone company Telmex, which later transformed into America Movil. This investment is hailed as one of his best decisions that cemented his name in the telecom industry.

7. His Companies Dominion

Carlos’ business acumen has built a business empire so extensive that it dominates Mexico’s economy. His companies account for approximately 40% of the listings on Mexico’s stock exchange. From telecom to construction, real estate to retail, his influence is prominent in nearly every sector of the country’s market, impacting the daily lives of Mexico’s population.

This level of control has drawn criticism, with critics questioning these extensive holdings and their significant influence on the Mexican economy. Yet, Slim maintains that his dominance in various sectors is a result of ‘efficiency and better performance’

8. Influence in American Media

Carlos Slim isn’t a stranger to the world of media. In 2009, when the famous New York Times was struggling due to a downturn in the advertisement industry and debt, Slim came to the rescue and lent them $250 million. The loan was later repaid, but not before he acquired a 17% stake in the prestigious publication, making him the largest shareholder.

His involvement with the New York Times has been controversial. While he saved the newspaper from possible financial ruin, his control over its shares has raised concerns over the influence exercised by a foreign billionaire on an American news outlet.

9. Late Entrance to the Internet

Surprisingly, despite his vast business and financial prowess, Carlos was somewhat late in recognizing the potential of the internet. It was not until the early 2000s that Carlos began investing in internet-related companies. Till date, he is rapidly expanding his business ventures in technology, acknowledging the reshaping power of the internet on business and society.

A notable example is his e-commerce platform, Claro Shop, a marketplace styled on the model of Amazon, targeted at the Latin American market. Despite being a late entrant, his investments in the digital world have picked momentum, bearing testament to his adaptive business strategies.

10. Education Crusader

Last but not least, Carlos is deeply devoted to the cause of education. Over the years, his foundation, ‘Fundación Carlos Slim’, has spearheaded numerous initiatives to provide quality education to millions. He passionately believes in education as a powerful tool for social change and spends millions in scholarships, training teachers, and establishing high-quality schools.

Through ‘Fundación Carlos Slim’, Carlos has exhibited his commitment to improving health, education, and economic well-being of populations in need. His educational programs have indeed transformed millions of lives and continue to empower people with knowledge and skills.

His life and works are full of inspiring, and perhaps surprising, stories; a rich tapestry of business, philanthropy, and personal SMB Ad interests that make him one of the most fascinating figures on the global stage. A savvy investor, powerful media influencer, and dedicated philanthropist, Carlos Slim’s life is full of lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs and established business persons alike.

Know more about Carlos Slim Helu
Visit Museo Soumaya
Discover America Movil