In this Dec 2003 photo, granddaughter of the late Chinese revolutionary Mao Zedong, Kong Dongmei (R) signs copies of the new pictorial book on the life of her grandfather, at a bookstore in Beijing. AFP photo/files
People's Republic of China founder Mao Zedong's granddaughter has become one of China's richest people, sparking a debate about the rise of princelings in the Communist state.
Kong Dongmei, the granddaughter of the founder of the People's Republic of China and her husband Chen Dongsheng has combined wealth of five billion yuan ($82 million) along with Mao's third wife He Zizhen, the South China Morning Post reported.
The wealth has put them at number 242 in the annual ranking by the Guangdong-based New Fortune magazine, it said.
Chen is the founder of China's first national auction house Guardian and the country's fourth largest insurance house Taikang.
He, Mao's third wife from 1930 to 1937, was regarded as an expert in guerrilla warfare as she took part in the violent revolution headed by the late Chinese leader.
She had three daughters and three sons by Mao but most of them were either dead or separated as the couple shifted from place to place fighting against the government troops.
She reported to have traced some of her children after the after revolution. Kong earned a master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1999.
As president of a cultural company in Beijing, with a bookshop aimed at protecting Communist culture, Kong has capitalised on her grandfather's name, the Post report said.
She also wrote four bestsellers about him. Kong has become well known of Mao's grandchildren after his grandson Mao Xinyu, a Major General in People?s Liberation Army, (PLA).
"The House of Mao will never engage in business," Mao Xinyu, reportedly pledged, perhaps to avoid suspicion of exploiting the illustrious ancestor for personal gain, the Post reported.
Meanwhile, a survey conducted by the China Data Centre at Tsinghua University found that graduates from families where the father or mother were officials could earn 15 per cent more than their counterparts.
Li Hongbin, deputy director of the centre, told the Beijing Evening Post that the data suggested family background made a difference of about 15 per cent in starting pay.
"There is clear evidence that official family backgrounds accounted for the additional assets," Li said.
The survey, which polled 6,059 graduates from 19 universities since 2010, found that more children from well- connected families were recruited by the finance industry, government agencies, and social institutions and international organisations, while more graduates from ordinary families went to industrial sectors, such as mining, manufacturing and construction.
The poll appears to indicate that patronage is a key element in the widening income gap among people from different backgrounds, the Post reported.
Almost all of the recently succeeded top leaders of the Communist Party had princeling backgrounds.