Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Beijing, China (4E) – China has 620 U.S. dollar billionaires (overwhelmingly men) with an average age of 55, and the richest of this lot is Jack Ma, founder and Chairman Emeritus of Alibaba Group, the world’s largest retailer.
The “2018 Lexus-Hurun China Rich List” reveals the 54 year-old Ma is worth over US$39 billion (RMB270 billion), making him China’s richest person once again. Ma saw his wealth jump 35% year-over-year due to a hike in the valuation of Ant Financial, Alibaba’s online payment business. Ma was fourth on last year’s list. This is the second time since 2015 Ma was listed as China’s richest person.
Worth $36 billion, real estate magnate Xu Jiayin, 60, is China’s second richest person. Xu is chairman of real estate conglomerate Evergrande. His net worth for 2018, however, is 14% lower than what he was worth in 2017 when he topped the list. He’s sometimes called “China’s Donald Trump” because he made his fortune in real estate while piling up a huge mountain of debt ($100 billion in 2017).
Pony Ma Huateng, 47, of internet giant Tencent saw his net worth of $35 billion land him in third spot. The richest woman in China is Yang Hui Yan, 37, vice-chair of property company Country Garden Holdings. Her net worth of US$22 billion made her fourth on the list.
China’s richest for 2018 are:
Jack Ma $39 billion; Xu Jiayin $36 billion; Pony Ma Huateng $35 billion; Elizabeth Yang Huiyan $22 billion; Wang Jianlin (deceased) and family $20 billion; He Xiangjian and He Jianfeng (husband and wife) $19 billion; Wang Wei $17.5 billion; Yan Hao and family $17.5 billion; Robin Li Yanhong and Melissa Ma Dongmin $17 billion; Lei Jun $16 billion and Wang Wenyin and family $16 billion.
The Hurun rich list consists of 1,893 individuals. To be included in the list, a person has to have a net worth of at least $290 million (RMB2 billion) as of Aug. 15.
Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman and chief researcher of the Hurun Report, noted that a 20% drop in China’s stock exchange; a decelerating economy and the U.S.-China trade war were factors in the removal of 456 billionaires this year.
This is the largest number of drop-offs since records began 20 years ago. When the Hurun China Rich List was first published, only eight individuals had $290 million in wealth.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the report. Hurun’ is the Chinese translation of Hoogewerf’s name.
Jeff Bezos, the richest person in the U.S. and the world, is now worth over $150 billion. He’s worth more than China’s six richest persons combined.
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