This year’s Hurun Rich List has as many as 520 new entries, thanks to the rapid expansion of China’s new energy industry and the vibrant initial public offering market.
The list is annually updated and tracks Chinese entrepreneurs’ wealth. Some 2,918 entrepreneurs made it to the latest list released on Thursday.
The rise was three times the number reported 10 years ago. The threshold was set at 2 billion yuan ($309 million) of personal wealth as at Sept 15.
The total wealth of the richest people surged 24 percent year-on-year to 34 trillion yuan or $5.3 trillion, the Hurun Rich List stated. The rankings are in their 23rd edition. Up to 45 entrepreneurs saw their individual net worth surpass 100 billion yuan each this year. A decade back, there was not a single Chinese who was worth more than 100 billion yuan.
Zhong Shanshan, 67, who is renowned as the “bottled water king “in China, topped the list for the first time with a personal wealth of 390 billion yuan, up 7 percent year-on-year.
The market value of two listed companies that Zhong founded-Nongfu Spring and Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy-grew by 10 percent and 40 percent, respectively, over the past year. Both companies are controlled by parent company YangShengTang Group, in which Zhong holds a 98.38 percent stake.
Zhang Yiming, 38, founder of ByteDance, an internet technology company, shot up 28 places to second position on the Hurun Rich List this year as his wealth has tripled over the past year to 340 billion yuan.
Last year, ByteDance’s sales revenue doubled to 236.6 billion yuan and its number of global monthly active users reached 1.9 billion.
Ever since China announced it will target 2060 for carbon neutrality, entrepreneurs from the new energy industry have shone on the rich list. Zeng Yuqun, 53, chairman of battery producer CATL, seized third place for the first time this year with a personal wealth of 320 billion yuan. He ranked 24th last year.
As at Sept 15, CATL’s market value has soared 150 percent year-on-year to top 1.2 trillion yuan, making it the largest company listed on the ChiNext at the Shenzhen bourse.
Similarly, Wei Jianjun, chairman of Great Wall Motors, saw his family wealth jump fivefold from 2020 to 173 billion yuan. He and his wife thus claimed seventh position on the list, up 89 places from last year.
Zhang Xinghai, chairman of the Chongqing-based new energy vehicle maker Sokon Group, saw his family wealth rise to 22 billion yuan, reporting the largest annual increase of 750 percent among all polled entrepreneurs.
“A boom in new energy entrepreneurs, sparked by carbon reduction targets, as well as a spate of new listings of tech-related companies drove this year’s list to record heights,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman and chief researcher of Hurun Report, adding that the new faces are showing the dynamism of China’s private sector.
Pony Ma, founder of technology giant Tencent, slipped to fourth position on the list this year while his wealth was also down by 19 percent year-on-year.
Jack Ma, founder of e-commerce behemoth Alibaba, fell to fifth position this year as his wealth had also slid by 36 percent from a year earlier.
Education platform TAL’s founder Zhang Bangxin saw his personal wealth shrink by 94 percent to 5.7 billion yuan, the biggest contraction this year.
Yu Minhong, chairman of New Oriental Education, saw his wealth decline to 7.5 billion yuan, down from 26 billion yuan in 2020.
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