China’s super-rich have bounced back from the financial crisis with a vengeance, and China now has more known dollar billionaires than any other country bar the United States, according to a new report released on Tuesday.
The annual Hurun Report said China has 130 known dollar billionaires, up from 101 last year. The number in the United States is 359 while Russia has 32 and India 24, according to Forbes magazine. China’s rich are getting richer, with the average wealth on the list $571 million, up almost one-third from last year, said compiler Rupert Hoogewerf.
“With the greatest wealth destruction in the west of the last 70 years, we’ve seen China buck the trend and the wealth seems to be still growing,” Hoogewerf told Reuters on the sidelines of an event to unveil the 2009 rich list.
“They’ve put the credit crunch behind them,” he said. “The key driver has been urbanisation. China’s wealth is growing at breakneck speed,” Hoogewerf, the founder of the Shanghai-based Hurun Report which publishes the annual list, told a press conference.
“You can double the real number of billionaires in China to 260. 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.”
Wang, the founder of rechargeable battery and electric car maker BYD, leapt 102 places to top the rich list after his fortune increased more than five-fold to $5.1 billion, said Hoogewerf.
The rich list gained 180 new members — despite the entry criteria for the latest list rising by 50 per cent to $150 million.
Seven people moved into the top 10, in the biggest shake-up since the report started publishing the rich list in 1999.
Topping the list was Wang Chuanfu, chairman of electric car and battery maker BYD Co Ltd in which US billionaire Warren Buffett holds a stake, with an estimated personal wealth of $5.1 billion. He was also the fastest riser from last year, up 102 places.