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China tops in churning out new billionaires, 4 in a week

Greater China is now turning out 4 new billionaires a week

The US added 19 new billionaires over the past year, Greater China added 210.

Nearly four decades ago, Deng Xiaoping is said to have declared “to get rich is glorious.” By that metric, today, China is the most “glorious” nation of them all.

According to the Hurun Global Rich List 2018, Greater China has officially left the United States in the dust in terms of the number of billionaires that it boasts — up 819 to 571. Just two years ago, the two were nearly deadlocked at 534 to 535.

However, over this past year, the US added only 19 new billionaires, while a total of 210 popped up in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. That’s about four new billionaires a week.

Greater China now accounts for more than 30% of the world’s 2,694 billionaires, combined their net worth is $2.5 trillion, or 3.2% of global GDP.

For the third straight year, Beijing has been named as the billionaire capital of the world, with 131 billionaires residing in the city, 37 more than last year. New York City ranked second, followed by Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and Shanghai. Cities like Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Foshan, Chengdu, and Ningbo also made the top 30.

Hurun now has Tencent’s Pony Ma as the richest man in China (or Asia) with a net worth of $47 billion. Behind him is Xu Jiayin (许家印), the chairman of Guangzhou-based property giant Evergrande, who has had himself quite the year, increasing his wealth by 242% to $41 billion.

They are followed by Hong Kong real estate tycoon Lee Shau-kee ($34 billion), Alibaba’s Jack Ma ($32 billion), and Yang Huiyan, a 36-year-old woman, who serves as vice-chairman of Chinese property developer Country Garden Holdings. She holds a 55% stake in Country Garden, mostly transferred to her by her real estate developer father.

Meanwhile, China has cast itself as the new land of opportunity, easily leading the world in self-made billionaires, including being home to 80% of the world’s self-made female billionaires.

And it’s also worth noting that the Hurun report is likely still understating things a bit. Here’s a 2016 quote from Hurun chairman Rupert Hoogewerf:

“For every billionaire that Hurun Report has found, I estimate we have missed at least two. Some people deliberately make their wealth a secret because … they gained it through illegal ways. Some others simply prefer to keep a low profile.”

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