China has surpassed the United States in the number of billionaires, driven by the rise of fortunes in technology and manufacturing, according to a survey released Thursday.
Despite a cooling economy, the number of Chinese billionaires rose by 242 this year to 596, according to The Hurun Report, which tracks the wealthiest in China. That number surpasses the 537 billionaires the company found in the United States.
The report reflected the success of online retailing, entertainment and other service businesses, while traditional industries such as steel and natural resources have declined.
1. Wang Jianlin
Company: Wanda Group
Industry: Real estate, entertainment
Wealth: $34.4 billion
Wang Jianlin is the chairman of Wanda Group, which operates hotels, shopping malls and cinemas.
2. Jack Ma
Wealth: $22.7 billion
Ma is the head of the of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group.
3. Zeng Qinghou
Wealth: $21.1 billion
Zeng runs the Wahaha soft drink and mineral water empire.
4. Ma Huateng
Wealth: $18.8 billion
“Pony” Ma Huateng runs Tencent Ltd. which created the popular WeChat social media service.
5. Lei Jun
Company: Xiaomi Technology
Industry: Smart phones, investments
6. Yan Hao
Company: China Pacific Construction
Industry: Road building
Wealth: $14.2 billion
7. Robin Li Yanhong & Melissa Ma Dongmin
Age: 47, 45
Industry: Search Engine
Wealth: $13.3 billion
8. Lu Zhiqiang
Industry: Real estate, finance, investments
Wealth: $13 billion
9. Zhang Jindong
Industry: Retail, real estate
Wealth: $12.7 billion
10. Lu Guanqiu
Industry: Car parts, real estate, agriculture
Wealth: $10.2 billion
New additions included Frank Wang, founder of DJI the world’s biggest maker of civilian drone aircraft, with a net worth of $3.7 billion, and Cheng Wei of taxi-hailing app Didi-Kuaidi, with $1 billion.
China’s economy grew by 7 percent in the quarter ending in July over a year earlier, down from last year’s 7.4 percent annual expansion and the lowest level since the 2008 global crisis.
Chinese leaders are trying to steer the world’s second-largest economy to more self-sustaining growth driven by domestic consumption and service businesses to reduce reliance on trade, investment and heavy industry.
“Despite the slowdown in the economy, China’s richest have defied gravity, recording their best year ever, and creating more wealth than any country has ever done before in a year,” Rupert Hoogwerf, chairman and chief researcher of The Hurun Report, said in a statement.
Story by the Associated Press.