While things may be going great for singer, dancer, entrepreneur Jack Ma, they’re going even better for another Chinese businessman.
This year’s China Rich List, released annually by the Hurun Report, is not topped by Wang Jianlin, Jack Ma or even Pony Ma, but real estate tycoon Xu Jiayin (许家印), the chairman of Guangzhou-based property giant Evergrande.
According to the list, Xu, who is also known as Hui Ka Yan in Cantonese, is now worth $43 billion, more than quadrupling his wealth since last year after making $30 billion in just six months as head of China’s biggest property developer in a booming real estate market.
Coming in second on the list is Tencent CEO Pony Ma ($37 billion), followed by Alibaba CEO Jack Ma ($30 billion), 36-year-old Country Garden heiress Yang Huiyan ($24 billion), Dalian Wanda CEO Wang Jianlin ($23 billion) and SF Express Chairman Wang Wei ($22 billion). Both Yang and Wang Wei are new to the top 10 list this year.
Hurun has Wang Jianlin’s wealth taking a 28 percent hit following a rough summer for China’s former richest man. Meanwhile, while Alibaba’s stocks have skyrocketed, Jack Ma’s wealth has stayed basically the same. To explain this apparent contradiction, Hurun explains that Ma reduced his ownership in Ant Financial from 35.5 percent last year to 1.2 percent this year, resulting in dozens of Ant Financial shareholders making this year’s list.
In comparison, the Bloomberg Billionaires Index has Jack Ma at the top ($46.7 billion), followed by Xu Jiayin ($37.5 billion), Pony Ma ($35.8 billion), Wang Jianlin ($28.2 billion), Yang Huiyan ($20.4 billion), Wang Wei ($18.7 billion) and Baidu CEO Robin Li ($18.4 billion).
Either way, Xu Jiayin’s success stands out. Bloomberg also notes that he’s made $30 billion this year. However, there are concerns that Xu might not be able to hold on to all of that money with his fortune built on debt in China’s volatile real estate market which some see as a massive bubble that’s ready to burst.
But Xu isn’t the only one who’s done well this year. Hurun says that there at least 647 dollar billionaires in mainland China, up 53 from last year and 396 from five years ago. Meanwhile, there are some 2,130 individuals in mainland China who are worth upwards of $300 million with their total wealth adding up to $2.6 trillion, or about the same as the GDP of the United Kingdom.
Moreover, Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun founder, acknowledges that there are likely many more multimillionaires in the country who have hidden their wealth either at home or overseas. “For every one we have found, we estimate there to be two that we have missed,” Hoogewerf said.
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