Tech billionaires top China’s rich list
Tech billionaires dominate China’s richest people list
China’s wealth is increasingly concentrated in the hands of tech entrepreneurs, although some pharmaceutical tycoons and pig farmers are joining the ranks of the super-rich.
For the second year in a row, there are fewer millionaires and billionaires on the Hurun Report’s list of wealthy people, but their average wealth has increased. China’s transition to a digital economy has led to the fall of manufacturing and construction tycoons.
«Over the years there has been a changing of the guard among the richest people in China», – said Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman of the Hurun Report, commenting on the list, which was released on Thursday.
«Tech entrepreneurs are replacing those in traditional manufacturing and real estate centers», – said Hoogewerf.
«Wealth is concentrated in the hands of those able to adapt to the digital economy», – he added.
Founder of Alibaba Jack Ma became the owner of the title of the richest man in China with a net profit of $ 39 billion. Tencent’s Pony Ma climbs one spot to come in second with $ 37 billion.
Among the biggest players for 2019 were Sun Piaoyang and Zhong Huijuan, who climbed 15 spots to fifth. The couple doubled their fortune to $ 25 billion after their schizophrenia and bipolar disorder drug company Hansoh went public in Hong Kong. Pharmaceutical tycoons make up 8% of China’s wealthy list, double their number 10 years ago.
The growing number of Chinese entrepreneurs, whose main source of wealth is technology or pharmaceuticals, reflects the changing economy of the country. For years, China has tried to lose its status as a global factory, instead trying to become a place where high-tech talent and innovation can thrive..
Latest list of ultra-wealthy Chinese shows this shift is starting to bear fruit.
Colin Huang Zheng, founder of e-commerce company Pinduoduo, became the first green-born entrepreneur born in the 1980s to enter the top 10. The 39-year-old billionaire’s wealth has grown to $ 19 billion, making him seventh on this list..
From the same generation, Bytedance founder, 36-year-old Zhang Yiming. Bytedance is behind popular video and news gathering apps like TikTok and Toutiao. Zhang entered the top 20 with a net worth of $ 13.5 billion. And Ren Zhengfei, founder of tech giant Huawei, has managed to climb several dozen spots on the list despite the fact that his company is under tremendous pressure from the US campaign against it. Ren Zhengfei’s fortune estimated at $ 3 billion, it is in the top 200.
Some of the largest food producers in China have also had a great year, helped by high pork prices..
Qin Yinglin and Qian Ying of Muyuan, China’s second-largest pork producer, have tripled their fortunes to $ 14 billion by capitalizing on high pork prices due to the outbreak of swine flu. Ah Zhang Yong and Shu Ping, the couple who own the popular fast food chain Haidilao, have doubled their fortunes to $ 17 billion.
Traditional manufacturing and construction are still important sources of wealth in China, but there are fewer super-rich people in these sectors., and those who have a decrease in equity capital.
Property developer Xu Jiayin is the third richest person in China, but the founder of Evergrande Group’s wealth has dropped $ 13 billion in the two years since he topped the list. Now his fortune is estimated at $ 30 billion..
Big bets in technology are risky, especially when they are in super-competitive industries like electric cars and smartphones.
Li Bing, founder of electric vehicle company NIO, knows this all too well. Its net worth more than halved to $ 860 million. NIO shares plummet more than 74% year-over-year as the company faces cost overruns and weak demand for its expensive cars.
Xiaomi founder Lei Jun finds out that his fortune has shrunk by about a third, as his company suffers from a drop in global smartphone sales. Lei is still worth $ 10.8 billion and is in the top 30 richest people in China.