While much of the world is struggling to regain some balance in terms of their financial status after the past year’s economical debacle, it appears that China is actually defying the odds and coining new billionaires.
Many believe this incredible recession-defying act is, in part, thanks to China’s government making rigorous efforts to stimulate the country’s real estate and security markets. Considering Haute Living just reported that over the past year 332 billionaires have lost their fortune and billionaire status, the Chinese resilience is certainly something to examine, and admire.
Shanghai-based Hurun Report publisher, Rupert Hoogewerf, recently spoke on the matter and said, “China’s wealth is growing at breakneck speed.” Despite a higher threshold for this year’s list of billionaires, the roaster gained 180 new members with no less than 130 billionaires (U.S. dollar equivalent), setting a new record. Believing that even those numbers do not accurately represent all of the new-made Chinese billionaires, Hoogewerf estimates that the actual number is probably twice as high as reported and adds, “There are still a large number of billionaires off the radar screens, managing to build up substantial wealth away from the public spotlight from property, the stock market, and investments.”
One individual whose wealth is certainly not out of the public sphere is car-battery maker, Wang Chuanfu. He currently heads the latest Hurun Rich List with a net worth of $5.1 billion. What is even more impressive is that in 2008, Chuanfu was ranked 101 on the list, demonstrating the immense growth in his worth over the past, particularly difficult, fiscal year. This year, Chuanfu took the number one spot from last year’s first-place holder, Huang Guangyu, a home-appliance maker, who saw his rank drop to number 17 after Chinese authorities held him late in 2008 on suspicion of stock-market manipulation.
Zhang Yin, a paper-recycling tycoon who topped the list in 2006 ranked in second this year, topped only by Chuanfu. Huang Wei and Li Ping, a married couple that owns the majority of the Shanghai-based property developer Xinhu Zhongbao, were among the new individuals added to the list this year.
The list’s inception began in 1999, however, in 2004 there were only 100 individuals in China with $150 million or more, but Hoogewerf points out that this year, the number of Chinese individuals within that financial brackets could reach 1,000. It is suspected that this astounding surge in China’s wealth is, in large part, a result of the rising stock and property prices, pushing the combined value of 1,000 of China’s wealthiest individuals to $571 billion by mid September this year, which is more than a $100 billion increase from last year, according to the Hurun Report.