Jack Ma, the 50-year-old co-founder and chairman of Alibaba Group Holding, is now the richest person in China with an estimated fortune of $25 billion, an annual report ranking the nation's wealthy revealed Tuesday. On Friday, shares of the Chinese e-commerce giant shot up in a New York Stock Exchange debut, pulling Ma to the top of the list.
Ma entered the top 10 list of richest people in China for the first time along with two other new entries to the list -- Lei Jun, founder of smartphone maker Xiaomi, who came in No. 10, and Richard Liu Qiangdong, founder of online retailer JD.com, who came in No. 9. Ma’s fortune, after the company's successful public listing, now stands at nearly six times that of his estimated wealth last year, which was just over $4 billion.
"It has been an amazing year for China's best tycoons despite the jitters about the Chinese economy," China-based luxury magazine publisher Hurun Report said in its annual report. “Ma is the 11th Number One in the 16 years of the Hurun Rich List. Ma’s fortune is mainly made up of his 6% holding in Alibaba and his 46% share in Alipay.”
Wang Jianlin, the 59-year-old property tycoon, dropped to second position from first with a fortune of $24.2 billion. Wang heads the Dalian Wanda Group, one of the largest real estate developers in China.
“Wang’s domestic real estate business grew by a staggering 30% to US$31bn last year, and in September this year, Wang announced Wanda was going for a HK listing, which could value the business as much as US$50bn,” Hurun wrote in its report.
Li Hejun of renewable energy firm Hanergy Holding Group came in No. 3 with an estimated wealth of $20.8 billion, and shared the position with Zong Qinghou of Hangzhou Wahaha Group, the leading beverage company in China.
Ma Huateng, also known as Pony Ma, founder of Tencent Inc., one of the largest Internet companies in China, came in fifth with a fortune of $18.1 billion.
“The entrepreneurial spirit that has caught China seems not to be abetting, with eight self-made individuals born in the ’80s making the list. Any country would be proud of that. The Hurun Rich List has seen more action on the international front than in the previous 15 years added together,” Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun Report chairman and chief researcher, said, according to the South China Morning Post.
Robin Li, who co-founded the Chinese search engine Baidu, came in at No. 6 with a fortune of $17. 5 billion, while Yan Jiehe and Yan Hao of China Pacific Construction came in seventh with an estimated $14.2 billion. Real estate mogul Yan Bin of Reignwood Group, with a fortune of $10 billion, was eighth on the latest edition of the Hurun Rich List.
“Ten years there were only 3 dollar billionaires, now there are 354,” Hoogewerf said.