CHINA TIMES (Taiwan), STOCK MARKET TREND WEEKLY(China), CNBC (USA)
BEIJING - The ranking of the world's richest man has stayed relatively stable. There have been only three individuals who made it there in the past ten years - Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and the Mexican telecoms tycoon Carlos Slim.
Over the same period the title of the richest person in China has looked like a revolving door. Thirteen businessmen and women have had the honor, according to a China Times report.
There are three rankings in China that list the country’s wealthiest people – The China Rich List (Forbes), the Hurun Rich List, and the New Wealth 500. In order to qualify as the richest person you have to make it to the very top of all three lists. The rapid ups and downs of the various names reflect the fast changes of the Chinese economic context, which involves enormous opportunities but also risks.
Stock Market Trend Analysis Weekly wrote that overall the assets of the richest Chinese have seen a substantial tenfold increase in the past decade. For example, Ding Lei who topped the Forbes and Hurun lists in 2003 had a net worth of more than 7 billion Yuan ($1.12 billion), while current leader Zong Qinghou, a beverage magnate, is worth between 60 to 80 billion Yuan ($9.6-12.8 billion).
The rise and fall of China’s wealthiest is inextricably associated with the capital market, the report pointed out. In recent years, thanks to a wave of IPOs, stock market launches have spawned a new generation of Chinese billionaires.
The ups and downs of Huang Guangyu, the ex-chairman of GOME Group, China’s largest consumer electronics retailer, is a classic example of the magic of the capital market. In 2004, at 35, Huang became the richest person in China. However, by 2008, Huang was suspected of market manipulation, violation of capital operations, misappropriation of funds and bribery. He was tried, sentenced and has languished in jail ever since.
The slump of the Chinese stock market has made almost half of China’s ultra-rich see their wealth shrink in the past year, according to CNBC News. Among the hardest hit are the 1000 richest individuals in the solar energy and textile sectors.