Business

China tops US in numbers of billionaires

Wang Jianlin Image copyright AFP
Image caption Dalian Wanda's Wang Jianlin has retained his top spot

China's annual rich list has indicated that, once again, the country has more dollar billionaires than the US, and the gap is widening.

Property magnate Wang Jianlin of Dalian Wanda tops the list of 594 billionaires in the country, ahead of 535 billionaires in the US.

Alibaba's Jack Ma was second, with his wealth having risen 41% from last year.

The annual list is compiled by Shanghai publishers Hurun and often compared to the Forbes list in the US.

The Hurun Report's rich list is one of the most closely-watched and accurate assessments of wealth in China. The annual report has been published for the past 18 years.

Earlier this year, the publisher released a separate, global list, showing that the number of billionaires in China outnumbered those in the US for the first time.

However, none of China's super-rich make it into the global top 20.

Global reach

At the top of the China rich list is Wang Jianlin, who sits on a personal fortune of $32.1bn (£26.4bn).

His company Dalian Wanda has made headlines throughout the year with a number of high profile forays into the US movie markets. It has taken over Legendary Pictures, as well as stepping into US and UK cinema chains and striking an alliance with Sony Pictures.

Alibaba's Jack Ma is a close second with $30.6bn, and Pony Ma of internet and online gaming giant Tencent comes third with $24.6bn.

Image copyright Reuters

The biggest increase came from Yao Zhengua of investment and real estate firm Baoneng Group, whose wealth jumped by 820% to $17.2bn, putting him in fourth position.

Hurun chairman Rupert Hoogewerf said Mr Yao's rise illustrated a shift in China's maturing economy.

"Yao's financial investment model represents the new wave of wealth creation in China," he explained. "The first money made in China 20 years ago came from trading, followed by manufacturing, real estate, IT, and today it is about using the capital markets for financial investments."

Robin Li and Melissa Ma of search engine Baidu have a fortune of $14.7bn, ranked eighth while founder of smartphone makers Xiaomi, Lei Jun, dropped out of the top 10 to number 14 as competition in China's smartphone market intensified.

Most of China's billionaires live in Beijing, followed by Shenzhen, Shanghai and Hangzhou.

Globally, the Forbes rich list is topped by Microsoft founder Bill Gates with $75bn, followed by Amancio Ortega of Zara and legendary investor Warren Buffett.

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