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China’s super-rich see fortunes plunge

The annual Hurun Rich List, which ranks China’s wealthiest people, says the number of individuals with $A15 billion has almost halved.

November 8, 2022
By Brenda Goh
8 November 2022

China’s super-rich have seen their wealth tumble by the most in more than two decades as the Russia-Ukraine war, Beijing’s zero-COVID-19 measures and falling mainland and Hong Kong stock markets pummel fortunes.

The Hurun Rich List, which ranks China’s wealthiest people with a minimum net worth of five billion yuan ($A1.1 billion), said on Tuesday only 1305 people made the mark this year, down 11 per cent from last year. 

Their total wealth was $US3.5 ($A5.4) trillion, down 18 per cent.

Meanwhile, the number of individuals with $US10 billion ($A15 billion) fell by 29 to 56 and the number of dollar billionaires dropped by 239 to 946 this year.

“This year has seen the biggest fall in the Hurun China Rich List of the last 24 years,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman and chief researcher of research firm Hurun Report, which compiles the list.

The global economic outlook has this year been heavily impacted by the war in Ukraine and slowing economic growth in China that has in turn been exacerbated by the country’s ultra-strict COVID policies and a prolonged property slump.

A two-year regulatory crackdown that has hit China’s biggest tech names such as Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings, and concerns President Xi Jinping will sacrifice growth for ideology in his third term, have also weighed on investor confidence, with Hong Kong and mainland stock markets tumbling in recent weeks.

Yang Huiyan, the businesswoman behind Country Garden Holdings Co Ltd, which like many other Chinese developers has been battling debt issues, saw her wealth fall by $US15.7 billion ($A24.3 billion), the biggest drop on the 2022 list.

Zhong Shanshan, whose listed companies are water bottler Nongfu Spring and vaccine developer Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise, took first place on the list for the second year running, with a fortune that grew 17 per cent to $US65 billion ($A100 billion).

The founder of TikTok owner ByteDance, Zhang Yiming, took second place but saw his wealth fall 28 per cent to $US35 billion ($A54 billion) due to a drop in ByteDance’s valuation. 

Zeng Yuqun, chairman of battery giant CATL, was third.

Tencent founder Pony Ma posted the second largest drop in wealth of $US14.6 billion ($A22.6 billion) amid sliding tech stock prices, to take fifth place on the list. 

Alibaba founder Jack Ma and his family tumbled four places to be ranked No. 9.

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