Despite slowing growth and a topsy-turvy stock market, billionaires apparently had it pretty good last year in China, adding a staggering 242 new members to their ranks for a grand total of 596 billionaires.
That number tops the mere 537 billionaires in America, according to an annual wealth report from Shanghai-based luxury magazine publisher Hurun Report. If Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau are included, the count rises to 715.
“Despite the slowdown in the economy, China’s richest have defied gravity, recording their best year ever,” Hurun Report Chairman Rupert Hoogewerf said in a statement.
In the constant musical chairs game that is the competition to be China’s richest man, Wanda founder Wang Jianlin has dethroned Alibaba founder Jack Ma. Ma better get to work on some more paintings, because Wang saw his fortune jump by more than 50% to US$34.4 billion. Ma’s wealth stands at a mere US$22.7 after a fall in Alibaba’s New York-quoted shares, following its record breaking public offering last year.
In third place is beverage billionaire bad boy Zong Qinghou, who has a amassed a fortune of US$21 billion from the Wahaha brand. Tencent founder Pony Ma and Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun are next in line, while Baidu founder Robin Li dropped all the way to number 7.
And there are still 590 more billionaires to mention. Jesus.