China’s rich get richer – Hurun Report 2017

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Xu Jiayin, Evergrande Group

1184 saw their wealth increase, of which 348 are new faces, 2130 individuals, up 74 since last year, with a wealth cut-off of US$300 million, average wealth rose 12.5% to US$1.2 billion, with the Top 100 shooting up 60%.

Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun Report Chairman and Chief Researcher, said, “This year we found more than 2000 individuals with US$300m, double that of five years ago and four times that of ten years ago. The Hurun Research Institute released the Hurun Rich List 2017 in association with China-based training platform 36G.

Overall, though, the Hurun Rich List has grown faster than any year since 2007, with the possible exception of 2015.

Property tycoon Xu Jiayin, 59, of Evergrande, saw his wealth all but quadruple to US$43bn, to become the twelfth person to top the list since records began 19 years ago. Pony Ma, 46, of Tencent, rose 52% to US$37bn, surpassing Jack Ma, 53, of Alibaba to second place. “The ‘Big Two’ are still from real estate and IT, however this year Xu Jiayin replaced Wang Jianlin, and Pony Ma replaced Jack Ma.” said Hoogewerf.

Three new faces made the Top 10: real estate developer Yang Huiyan, 36, of Country Garden, ‘Delivery King’ Wang Wei of SF Express, and Li Shufu of Geely.

Alibaba and its affiliate Ant Financial have 43 shareholders on this year’s list. Rupert Hoogewerf said: “China’s entrepreneurs have come a long way. Back in 1999, when I put out the first list, I managed to rank 50 people. Today we have almost that number just from Alibaba!” According to the latest records, Jack Ma’s holdings in Ant Financial have sunk from 35% down to 1.2%, which is on a par with Ren Zhengfei’s shareholding in Huawei. Hoogewerf continued, “Had Jack Ma kept his 35%, he would have been China’s Number One.”

By industry, the Big 3 wealth creating industries are manufacturing, real estate and IT. Real estate is down slightly on number of individuals compared with last year.

Big winners. Real estate developer Sun Hongbin of Sunac, ‘Pharma Research King’ Li Ge and wife Zhao Ning of Wuxi Pharma Tech, Ant Financial CEO Peng Lei, Zhang Yiming, 34, of Toutiao (wealth up more than ten-fold in one year) and newly-listed Furniture Tycoon Yao Liangsong of Oppein broke into the Top 100. “To break into the Top 100 is really difficult. After Huawei, for example, Wuxi Pharma has the highest number of employees with phds working for it, with 8000 doctorates,” says Hoogewerf.

Down. Jia Yueting of LeEco dropped down from 31st place last year to 1978th place, after supply chain and cashflow problems that resulted in his wealth down by 95%.

Industries. Manufacturing is now by far the key industry for the rich list, for 28% of the list, up 2% on last year and 8% on five years ago. Second comes real estate, the key industry for 15% of the list, down 1% on last year and 5% on five years ago. TMT, investments and healthcare grew slightly to 12%, 11% and 7% of the list, up 7%, 2% and 1% on five years ago. “It has been a good year for manufacturing, cars, education, TMT and healthcare,” says Hoogewerf.

Millennials. ‘Education King’ Zhang Bangxin, 37, of TAL officially becomes the richest millennial after seeing his wealth triple to US$6bn, followed by ‘Drone King’ Wang Tao, 37, of DJI Innovations. There are 148 individuals under 40, 33 less than last year, of which 71 are self-made, up 7. “There has been a strong surge in entrepreneurship amongst university graduates in the past five years,” says Hoogewerf.

Average age 54 years, one more than last year. Rupert Hoogewerf said: “The rich lister started out 24 years ago on average at the age of 29.”

Residence. Beijing is still the preferred city of residence for 300 individuals, down 22 from last year, ahead of Shenzhen with 223, 28 up on last year. Hangzhou is catching up Shanghai fast. Shanghai hangs on to third spot with 173, up 11, followed by Hangzhou with 153, up 30.

Birthplace. Guangdong entrepreneurs overtook Zhejiang for the first time, up 52 to 284.

26% are women, 2% more than last year, of which 70% are self-made. Yang Huiyan reclaimed the title of richest woman in China for the first time in 11 years.

Political appointments up. 213 individuals or 10%, up from 9.4% last year, are delegates to the National People’s Congress or CPPCC, with the NPC delegates up by 26 to 125, and CPPCC delegates up by 11 to 88. 3 are delegates to the 19th Party Congress starting on 18 October. “The Hurun Rich Listers have become important stakeholders in the economy, with the companies they founded employing the best part of 2% of the workforce and paying 6% of the total tax revenues.”

Going global. “Foreign exchange restrictions put in place recently have made it harder for rich listers to move money overseas,” says Hoogewerf.

In trouble with the law. 5 of trouble with the authorities, with Xiao Jianhua of Tomorrow Holdings the highest profile. Xiao still makes the list with US$4.5bn. US-based Guo Wengui is off the list this year.

Chinese star signs. It has been a good year for those born in the Year of the Dragon, although Rabbits lead the way for the umpteenth year.

Hurun Research has grown to become the World’s Largest Rich List compiler.

The Top 10

There are 3 new entries to the Top 10: Yang Huiyan of Country Garden, Wang Wei of SF Express and Li Shufu & Li Xingxing of Geely. 4 made their money from IT, same as than last year, 3 are real estate tycoons. The cut-off to make the Top 10 increased 41%, to US$16.4bn. All would now make the Top 100 of the Hurun Global Rich List. Average age is 49, five less than last year. Half of the Top 10 are based in Guangdong, South China.


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