©Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Zhang Yiming, Founder and Global CEO of ByteDance poses on March 4, 2020 in Palo Alto, California, United States. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
By Brenda Goh
(Reuters) – China’s super-rich experienced the sharpest fall in their wealth in over two decades this year, as the Russia-Ukraine war, Beijing’s zero-COVID measures and falling stock markets in the mainland and Hong Kong devastated fortunes, the report said an annual list of the rich on Tuesday.
The Hurun Rich List, which ranks China’s richest people with net worth of at least 5 billion yuan ($692 million), said only 1,305 people reached the mark this year, down 11% from a year earlier. Their total wealth was $3.5 trillion, down 18%.
Meanwhile, the number of people with $10 billion has fallen by 29 to 56, and the number of dollar billionaires has fallen by 239 to 946 this year, she added.
“This year saw the largest decline in the Hurun China Rich List in 24 years,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman and chief researcher at the research firm Hurun Report, which compiles the list.
The global economic outlook this year has been heavily impacted by the war in Ukraine and slowing economic growth in China, which in turn has been exacerbated by the country’s ultra-tight COVID policies and an ongoing real estate slump.
A two-year regulatory crackdown that has hit China’s biggest tech companies like Alibaba (NYSE:) Group and Tencent Holdings (OTC:) and fears that President Xi Jinping will sacrifice growth to ideology in his third term also have investors Hurts confidence as Hong Kong and mainland stock markets have tumbled in recent weeks.
Yang Huiyan, the businesswoman behind Country Garden Holdings Co Ltd, who is struggling with debt woes like many other Chinese developers, saw her wealth shrink by $15.7 billion, the biggest drop on the list for 2022.
Zhong Shanshan, whose listed companies are water bottler Nongfu Spring and vaccine developer Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise, topped the list for the second year in a row, with assets up 17% to $65 billion.
TikTok owner ByteDance’s founder, Zhang Yiming, took second place but saw his wealth plummet to $35 billion due to a 28% drop in ByteDance’s valuation. Third place went to Zeng Yuqun, chairman of battery giant CATL.
Tencent founder Pony Ma posted the second-largest wealth loss of $14.6 billion amid falling tech stock prices, ranking fifth on the list. Alibaba founder Jack Ma and his family fell four places to No. 9.
($1 = 7.2215 yuan)