Jack Ma re­turns as China’s rich­est

Shanghai Daily - - TOP NEWS - Huang Yix­uan

JACK Ma, Alibaba’s co-founder and ex­ec­u­tive chair­man, has de­throned real es­tate ty­coon and Ever­grande boss Xu Ji­ayin as the rich­est man in China, ac­cord­ing to the 2018 Hu­run China Rich List which was re­leased yes­ter­day.

With US$39 bil­lion in wealth, Ma, 54, pushed Xu, 60, to se­cond place whose net worth was US$36 bil­lion.

This year, only 1,893 in­di­vid­u­als made the cut, down 11 per­cent from 2,130 in­di­vid­u­als last year. It was the first big drop in the size of the list since 2012.

A 20 per­cent drop in the stock mar­ket “re­sulted in 456 drop-offs this year, the high­est since records be­gan 20 years ago,” said Ru­pert Hoogew­erf, chair­man and chief re­searcher of Hu­run Re­port.

“This year, en­trepreneurs from 34 listed com­pa­nies had their shares frozen,” he said.

“Wealth in China is be­com­ing more con­cen­trated. The wealth of the Hu­run Top 10, for ex­am­ple, ac­counted for 10 per­cent of the to­tal wealth on the list, and that of the Top 200 ac­counted for half of the to­tal wealth on the list,” Hoogew­erf said.

Ma and his fam­ily shot back to top for the se­cond time in four years. Ma’s wealth in­creased by US$10 bil­lion to US$39 bil­lion this year on the back of a higher val­u­a­tion of Ant Fi­nan­cial, the Alibaba af­fil­i­ate that looks af­ter the firm’s Ali­pay ser­vice.

Ma re­cently an­nounced plans to re­tire, and fol­low in the foot­steps of Mi­crosoft founder Bill Gates and de­vote time and en­ergy to phi­lan­thropy.

Ten­cent’s co-founder and CEO Pony Ma was third with US$35 bil­lion.

Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun’s wealth shot up the fastest by 62 per­cent to US$16 bil­lion to break into the top 10.

There were 219 new faces led by 38-year-old Colin Huang Zheng of e-com­merce gi­ant Pin­duo­duo at 13th with US$14 bil­lion.

Five new faces shot straight into the Hu­run Top 100. Oth­ers in­clude “bat­tery king” Zeng Yuqun of CATL, a bat­tery maker for the elec­tric-car in­dus­try, and “blockchain king” Zhan Ke­t­uan of Bit­main.

“The scal­a­bil­ity of the mar­ket cou­pled with a strong in­vestor ecosys­tem is cre­at­ing big new busi­nesses fast,” Hoogew­erf said.

On the other end, how­ever, Wu Gang and Huang Xiao­jie, both of JD Cap­i­tal, saw their wealth drop by 85 per­cent; Meitu’s Wu Xin­hong and Cai Wen­sheng’s share was eroded by over 50 per­cent; Jiang Bin and wife Hu Shuang­mei of acous­tic com­po­nent maker Go­erTek saw their wealth drop by over 50 per­cent; and last year’s self-made rich­est women “touch­screen queen” Zhou Qun­fei and her hus­band Zheng Jun­long saw their wealth shrink by 45 per­cent.

Gone from the list are chem­i­cal in­dus­try mag­nate Zhu Shuangquan, light­ing ti­tan Zhang Yu­tao and elec­tric com­po­nent mak­ers Zhong Xiaop­ing and wife Liu Qi­ux­i­ang, all of whom have seen their com­pa­nies’ share prices sink this year.

The Hu­run Top 10 cre­ated seven For­tune Global 500 com­pa­nies — Alibaba, Ever­grande, Ten­cent, Coun­try Gar­den, Midea, China Pa­cific Con­struc­tion and Amer.

By in­dus­try, 60 per­cent made their wealth from the Big Four in­dus­tries — man­u­fac­tur­ing, real es­tate, fi­nan­cial in­vest­ments and In­ter­net tech­nol­ogy.

Man­u­fac­tur­ing has been the main source of wealth for the past five years, although the num­ber of in­di­vid­u­als from this sec­tor dropped slightly to 26.1 per­cent from last year’s 27.9 per­cent, on the back of the US-China trade war.

Real es­tate, which used to be the top wealth creator for the first 15 years of the list, came in se­cond, edg­ing up from 14.6 per­cent to 14.9 per­cent.

Fi­nance and in­vest­ments over­took IT, with in­vest­ments up from 10.9 per­cent to 11.6 per­cent, while IT fell from 11.8 per­cent to 10.3 per­cent.

New en­ergy, food, cloth­ing and ap­parel, as well as re­tail all edged up, while nat­u­ral re­sources, cul­ture and en­ter­tain­ment, as well as agri­cul­ture edged down.

The num­ber of women in the list ac­counted for 28.7 per­cent, a record high since the list be­gan 20 years ago. Yang Huiyan of Coun­try Gar­den re­mained the rich­est woman in China with net worth US$22 bil­lion.

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