Bottled water tycoon tops Hurun Rich List for third straight year
Nongfu Spring founder and chairman Zhong Shanshan topped the Hurun China Rich List for the third year running with a US$62-billion fortune while Tencent chairman Ma Huateng returned to second spot, up from fifth place, with US$28 billion.
As many as 1,241 individuals with at least 5 billion yuan (US$690 million) of assets each were included in the list, but their combined total wealth was down 4 percent to US$3.2 trillion.
There were a total of 895 dollar billionaires based on the wealth calculation as of September 1, down 51 from last year and falling 290 since the peak two years ago, but still ahead of pre-pandemic times.
Despite losing 51 billionaires from a year ago, China remained No. 1 in the world for billionaires, almost 200 more than the United States.
China overtook the US in terms of the number of billionaires in 2016, and has since kept the position.
Hurun Report Chairman and Chief Researcher Rupert Hoogewerf pointed out: "This marks the second time in 25 years that the number of individuals on the Hurun China Rich List has decreased for two consecutive years, the last time being 2018 and 2019, after which there was a significant bounce-back."
Among the 1,241 included on the rich list, 898 saw their wealth decrease or remain unchanged, of which 179 dropped off the list due to volatile stock market performance.
The total number was also down 5 percent from a year ago and a further 15 percent from two years ago.
There were 115 new faces on the list – the lowest number since 2005 – mainly from the healthcare, software services and food and beverage sectors.
Bottled water tycoon Zhong topped the ranking for the third year running with US$62 billion despite economic headwinds and his wealth has remained almost unchanged.
Hong Kong-listed Nongfu Spring saw sales up strongly in the first half of this year and made up 90 percent of Zhong's wealth. His other main business, the A-share-listed Wantai Biological Pharmacy, saw its market value down by US$5 billion, according to the ranking report.
Tech magnate Ma returned to second spot, up from fifth place, with US$28 billion, a gain of 30 percent from a year ago. That was due to Tencent's 11 percent revenue improvement in the first half.
Fastest risers included Pinduoduo founder Huang Zheng, Mihoyo's Cai Haoyu and NetEase's Ding Lei, as well as two from the electric vehicle sector: Li Shufu of Geely and Li Xiang of Li Auto.
Those with successful overseas businesses maintained their wealth relatively well. They include Zhang Yiming and Huang Zheng, of TikTok and Temu, respectively, platforms that target overseas markets.
Grocery chain store Miniso's fast international growth also contributed to the wealth of Guangzhou-based Ye Guofu and Yang Yunyun, which tripled to US$5.3 billion.
Wealth creation is becoming more spread out geographically, with this year's 1,241 individuals coming from 144 cities, 12 percent higher from five years ago.