213 Former Chinese Billionaires Are Now…Cue the Violins…Just Millionaires

Journalist:
Ben Brown
February 27, 2019

After a bruising year for the stock market, China has lost 231 billionaires.

Although China gained 52 new members of the ten-figure club, it’s still a big net loss, with the total number of uber-rich individuals falling from 819 to 658.

The figures, revealed in the eighth annual Hurun Global Rich List, show just how precarious China’s economy has become. With a 25 percent stock market collapse in 2018, China’s wealthy have taken a hit.

But let’s not get too sympathetic. After all, they’re still millionaires. The global 1 percent still owns half the world’s entire wealth.

Hurun Global Rich List 2019, top ten. Source: Hurun

$1 Trillion Wiped out from the World’s Richest

According to Hurun Rich List, there are now 2,470 billionaires on the planet (you can see them all at hurun.net).

However, that’s down by 430 on last year with the super-rich losing a total of $1 trillion. The loss is blamed on weak global stock markets and growing tensions around the world.

China was hit hardest with a stock market slump of 25 percent. The yuan currency also slipped 5.6 percent against the dollar, eating into the net-worth figures. A slowing economy and fears of a trade war with the US sent Asian stocks into a bear market last year.

Note: the Hurun Rich List doesn’t take into account the brief recovery in 2019.

China’s Biggest Billionaire Losers

One of the biggest losers is China’s former richest man, Wang Jianlin. The founder of real estate company Dalian Wanda Group lost 37% of his net worth last year. He now holds $17 billion.

Tencent boss Ma Huateng saw his wealth slashed by 19 percent to $38 billion.

In total, China lost 213 billionaires but gained 52. The loss is the biggest in the world, ahead of India which lost 52.

Beijing Is Still the Billionaire Capital of the World

Despite the fall, China remains home to more billionaires than anywhere else on the planet. The country boasts 658 billionaires compared to the USA’s 584.

Among China’s most recent billionaires are blockchain moguls Zhan Ketuan and Jihan Wu of mining corporation Bitmain. Despite Bitmain’s losses of $500 million and widespread layoffs, the bitcoin miners enter the ranks of the world’s richest.

Alibaba’s Jack Ma defied the market downturn to maintain his crown as China’s richest man. He moved up four places in the global rankings to number 22.

Elsewhere, new initial public offerings (IPOs) in China helped propel the next generation of super-wealthy. Meituan-Dianping’s Wang Xing and Xiaomi’s Lei Jun are notable entrants.

Who Made the Rich List Top Ten?

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos edges out Bill Gates at the top of the list with a whopping $147 billion fortune. Infamous bitcoin-skeptic Warren Buffet comes in third with $88 billion and Mark Zuckerberg rounds out the top five with $80 billion.

Below is the top ten in full:

  1. Jeff Bezos – $147 billion
  2. Bill Gates – $96 billion
  3. Warren Buffet – $88 billion
  4. Bernard Arnault – $86 billion
  5. Mark Zuckerberg – $80 billion
  6. Carlos Slim Helu & Family – $66 billion
  7. Amancio Ortega – $56 billion
  8. Sergey Brin – $54 billion
  9. Mukesh Ambani – $54 billion
  10. Larry Page – $53 billion

Elsewhere, Elon Musk jumped ten places to number 30 thanks to an increased valuation at Space X.

Last modified (UTC): February 27, 2019 09:13

Tags: China
Ben Brown

Ben is a journalist with a decade of experience covering financial markets. Based in London, UK, his writing has appeared in The Huffington Post and he was Chief Editor at Block Explorer, the world's longest-running source of Blockchain data. Reach him at benjamin-brown.uk or on Twitter at _Ben_Brown. Email ben @ benjamin-brown.uk.