King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al Saud of Saudi Arabia came in third behind Mr Jintao and Mr Obama, while Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister was fourth, ahead of Dmitry Medvedev, who only came in at 12.
Pope Benedict XVI was in fifth place, while the rest of the top 10 was rounded off by Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, Sonia Gandhi, the Indian president, and Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Mr Gates finished ahead of Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple, who was in 17th place.
The list, another blow to the US president, cited his party’s poor performance in the midterm elections.
“Obama’s Democrats suffered a mighty blow in US midterm elections, with the president decisively losing support of the House of Representatives, and barely holding onto the Senate. It’s quite a comedown for last year’s most powerful person, who after enacting widespread reforms in his first two years in office will be hard-pressed to implement his agenda in the next two.”
Of Mr Hu, Forbes wrote: “Unlike Western counterparts, Hu can divert rivers, build cities, jail dissidents and censor internet without meddling from pesky bureaucrats, courts. Recently surpassed Japan to become the world’s second-largest economy both in absolute and purchasing power terms. Credible estimates have China poised to overtake US as world’s largest economy in 25 years – although, crucially, not on a per-capita basis.”