Image credit: @tomspender
The Hurun China Rich List, which catalogues the number of billionaires and millionaires in this still ostensibly Communist country, has released its 2012 report, with some bad news. There aren’t quite as many billionaires as last year. Quick! Board up the doors and kill the children, the apocalypse is upon us!
This is the first time in seven years that the number of USD billionaires in China has fallen, which might be a more effective way of measuring how the economy is doing than how many expats are leaving. From the Financial Times:
In its annual report on China’s super-wealthy, released on Monday, Hurun said China had 251 people worth $1bn or more, down 20 from last year but still sharply up from 2006, when there were just 15. And for the first time since Hurun began publishing the list in 1999, property lost pride of place as the sector that generates the most wealth.
The list does however, provide good news for some. Drinks magnate Zong Qinghou is back on top of the list with a fortune of $12.6bn, having lost the top-spot last year to Sany founder Liang Wengen, now in fifth place.
The list was also good news for incredibly wealthy Chinese women. Wu Yajun remained the “richest self-made woman in the world” for the second year running, with a personal worth of $6bn. Wu is still a ways short of the absolute richest woman in the world, $30bn Australian heiress Gina Rinehart, but maybe if she spends “less time drinking or smoking and socialising, and more time working“, one day she’ll break through that diamond-encrusted platinum ceiling.
Also of interest on the list is third place Robin Li Yanhong, $8bn, who holds a 16% stake in Baidu. According to Hurun: “Google’s withdrawal from the Chinese market two years ago has allowed Baidu to cement its position as the number one choice for Chinese-language internet search services.” Also: the company’s willingness to help ‘calm’ international tensions by letting users stick pretend flags in disputed islands.
Hurun Rich Listers are not only captains of ‘private’ industry, seven individuals on the list are delegates to the 18th Party Congress, and there are 76 and 74 delegates respectively to the NPC and the CCPCC who also made the cut.
Beijing comes out on top as ‘place where lots of rich people live’, with 123 of the Rich Listers calling the capital home. Shanghai came in a distant second with only 80 obscenely wealthy residents.