Jack Ma tops Hu­run rank­ing of wealthy

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By SHI JING in Shanghai shi­jing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

E-com­merce gi­ant Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma topped the 2018 Hu­run China Rich List re­leased on Wed­nes­day, the se­cond time he has reached this pin­na­cle of wealth in the past four years.

Ma and his fam­ily’s wealth in­creased by $10 bil­lion to $39 bil­lion, on the back of a hike in the valu­a­tion of on­line pay­ment arm Ali­pay’s moth­er­ship Ant Fi­nan­cial.

Alibaba’s mar­ket value reached $390 bil­lion by the end of Septem­ber, mak­ing it the most valu­able com­pany es­tab­lished in China and one of the 10 largest com­pa­nies glob­ally. The value of Ant Fi­nan­cial ex­ceeded $100 bil­lion.

Last year’s No 1, Xu Ji­ayin, chair­man of real es­tate developer Ever­grande Group, was de­moted to se­cond place this year, with his wealth shrink­ing $6 bil­lion to $36 bil­lion. How­ever, his com­pany’s sales in the first half of this year rose 25 per­cent to ex­ceed $40 bil­lion.

Tech­nol­ogy gi­ant Ten­cent’s founder Pony Ma dropped one place to third with a per­sonal wealth of $35 bil­lion. This is the first time that his for­tune has shrunk since he first made it onto the list in 2005.

Ru­pert Hoogew­erf, chair­man and chief re­searcher at Hu­run Re­port, said this can be largely at­trib­uted to Ten­cent’s share price de­cline due to the cen­tral reg­u­la­tor’s tighter con­trols on the to­tal num­ber of dig­i­tal games in the mar­ket.

The Hong Kong-listed com­pany has shed nearly 40 per­cent in mar­ket value so far this year. It reg­is­tered a de­cline for the ninth con­sec­u­tive day on Wed­nes­day by clos­ing at HK$286.4 ($36.5). While it jumped to be one of the top five com­pa­nies in the world in terms of mar­ket value at the be­gin­ning of this year, along with Ap­ple Inc and Mi­crosoft Corp, it has now been squeezed out of the top 10 list.

The top 10 bil­lion­aires on the lat­est list cre­ated seven For­tune 500 com­pa­nies. Hoogew­erf said these rich peo­ple have cre­ated “glob­ally in­flu­en­tial com­pa­nies”.

There were 219 new faces on this year’s rich list, led by 38-year-old Huang Zheng, founder of e-com­merce com­pany Pin­duo­duo. Huang started Pin­duo­duo only three years ago and his per­sonal wealth has now surged to $14 bil­lion, putting him at 13th on the list.

Ac­cord­ing to Hoogew­erf, Huang made his wealth grow over 100 bil­lion yuan ($14.4 bil­lion) in the short­est time pe­riod.

How­ever, this year only 1,893 in­di­vid­u­als made it onto the list, which has a thresh­old of 2 bil­lion yuan, down 11 per­cent from the to­tal num­ber of 2,130 last year. This is the first down­siz­ing of the list since 2012.

Hoogew­erf said the al­most 20 per­cent de­cline in A shares so far this year and trade ten­sions be­tween the United States and China were the main rea­sons for this.

The man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try gen­er­ated the most bil­lion­aires on the lat­est rich list, which is the fifth time in a row, fol­lowed by real es­tate, in­vest­ment and in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy.

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