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Home / Business / Jack Ma and other technology billionaires dominate China's rich list. Pig farmers also had a good year

Jack Ma and other technology billionaires dominate China's rich list. Pig farmers also had a good year



There were fewer millionaires and billionaires in the Hurun Report's rich list for the second consecutive year, but their average wealth increased as China's shift to the digital economy caused production and construction tycoons to fall from the bottom.

has been a "change of guard" among China's richest people of all time, said Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun Reports chairman, commenting on the list released Thursday.

"Technical entrepreneurs replace them from the traditional power plants for production and real estate," Hoogewerf said. "Wealth concentrates in the hands of those who are able to adapt to the digital economy," he added.

Alibaba ( BABA ) Founder Jack Ma held on to his title as China's richest man with a net worth of $ 39 billion, with Pony Ma of Tencent ( TCEHY ) and increased one place to take second place by $ 37 billion.

Among the biggest inductees for 201

9 were Sun Piaoyang and Zhong Huijuan, who waved 15 spots to land in fifth place. The couple doubled their fortune to $ 25 billion after their company Hansoh, which makes schizophrenia and bipolar disorder drugs, went public in Hong Kong. Pharmaceutical moguls make up 8% of China's rich list, twice as many as ten years ago.

The growing number of Chinese entrepreneurs whose most important source of wealth is technology or medicines reflects the country's changing economy. For years, China has tried to downplay the status of the world's factory, and is fighting instead to become a place where high-tech talent and innovation can thrive.

The latest ultra-rich list indicates that shifts are beginning to bear fruit.

Colin Huang Zheng, founder of the e-commerce company Pinduoduo ( PDD ) became the first self-produced entrepreneur born in the 1980s and came in the top 10. The 39-year-old's fortune grew to $ 19 billion, earning him seventh place on this year's list.

From the same generation, Bytedance founder Zhang Yiming, 36. Bytedance is the company behind popular video and news aggregator apps such as TikTok and Toutiao. Zhang just came to the top 20 with a net worth of $ 13.5 billion.

And Ren Zhengfei, founder of tech giant Huawei, managed to raise a few dozen spots on the list despite his company being under tremendous pressure from a US campaign against it. Clean is worth $ 3 billion and is in the top 200.

Soaring pork prices

Some of China's largest food producers also had a great year, aided by rising pork prices.

Qin Yinglin and Qian Ying of Muyuan, who own China's second-largest pork producer, tripled the fortune to $ 14 billion, and paid at high pork prices due to an outbreak of swine flu. And Zhang Yong and Shu Ping, the pair behind the popular hotpot chain Haidilao, doubled their fortune to $ 17 billion.

Traditional manufacturing and real estate development are still important sources of wealth in China, but fewer super-rich people make their money in these sectors and those who suffer fall into net wealth.

Real estate developer Xu Jiayin is the third richest man in China, but the fortune of the Evergrande Group founder has plummeted $ 13 billion from two years ago when he topped the list. He is now worth $ 30 billion.

Technology does not always pay

Large efforts in tech are risky, especially when they are in super-competitive industries such as electric cars and smartphones.

Li Bin, founder of the electric car manufacturer NIO, knows this all too well. His net worth more than halved, to $ 860 million. Shares in NIO ( NIO ) have fallen, more than 74% for the year, as the company struggles with cost overruns and weak demand for expensive vehicles.

Xiaomi founder Lei Jun saw wealth decline by about a third as his company suffered a decline in global smartphone sales. Lei is still worth $ 10.8 billion and is in the top 30.


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