Bottled water tycoon tops list of the richest Chinese

Ding Yining
Zhong Shanshan's wealth shrank 9 percent from last year, according to the Hurun Global Rich List, but is still China's richest man, and Elon Musk tops global rankings.
Ding Yining
Bottled water tycoon tops list of the richest Chinese
Shen Xinyi / SHINE

Bottled water tycoon Zhong Shanshan remains China's top billionaire for the fourth straight year, according to the 13th edition of the Hurun Global Rich List released on Monday.

Although the number of Chinese billionaires decreased by 155, China still has the largest number of billion-dollar entrepreneurs in the world, with 814 and the US close behind with 800.

Zhong Shanshan, 70, whose personal wealth shrank 9 percent to US$63 billion from last year, is still China's richest man, while Elon Musk retains top position in the global ranking with US$231 billion of wealth.

Zhong's global ranking was down six positions to 21st place, with other top 20 billionaires including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen are the three major cities where China's billion dollar entrepreneurs locate their businesses. Their average age is 60, six years younger than the average age of the total ranking.

China is also home to the world's largest number of billion dollar entrepreneurs who started from scratch, and the world's largest number of such female billion-dollar entrepreneurs.

The total wealth of China's billion-dollar entrepreneurs is close to 19 trillion yuan (US$2.6 trillion), down 15 percent from last year.

Bottled water tycoon tops list of the richest Chinese
Ti Gong

Bottled water tycoon Zhong Shanshan is China's top billionaire for the fourth straight year.

A total of 3,279 billion-dollar entrepreneurs from 2,435 companies in 73 countries are listed in the 2024 Hurun Global Rich List, up from 3,112 last year, based on a wealth calculation as of January 15, and their combined wealth increased by 9 percent to 108 trillion yuan.

Over half of billionaires, as many as 1,933 entrepreneurs, saw their wealth increase from last year, including 480 new faces.

The wealth structure of Chinese billionaires underwent dramatic changes, as more than 200 Chinese billion-dollar entrepreneurs were wiped off the list while 50 new faces emerged.

In the two years since peaking in 2022, nearly 450 billion-dollar entrepreneurs have fallen off the list in China, while more than 120 new faces made this year's list.

China's fastest rising billionaires include Huang Zheng from e-commerce giant Pinduoduo as well as top gaming firm Mihoyo's Cai Haoyu, who recorded a 71 percent and 210 percent wealth increase respectively.

The cut-off to the global top 10 jumped nearly four times from 10 years ago from 215 billion yuan to 830 billion yuan this year.

"AI has deeply impacted the global rich ranking for the first time, with more than half of the new wealth coming from the booming industry, and cloud-related entrepreneurs such as Meta, Amazon, Google's parent company Alphabet, Oracle, and Microsoft have seen their wealth grow significantly," said Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun Report chairman and chief researcher.

Nvidia's Jen-Hsun Huang saw his wealth double to 350 billion yuan, taking him into the global top 30.

Chen Tianshi from Cambricon, Cho Jyh-jer of semiconductor giant Media Tek, and Dai Wenyuan and Wu Min from Beijing-based AI company Fourth Paradigm were also among the fastest growing billionaires.

Special Reports