China’s New Fortune Magazine, which has been putting out a list of the 500 richest people in mainland China, much as Forbes does in the West, published its 2013 list on Monday. This year, the top 500 in China have a total net worth of 3.58 trillion yuan ($581.55 billion), and an average net worth of 7.16 billion yuan ($1.16 billion).
These are the 10 richest people in China, and how they landed on the list.
1. Zong Qinghou
Zong is China’s rags-to-riches poster child. With a net worth of 70 billion yuan, or about $11 billion, the 67-year-old CEO and president of China’s leading beverage company was born to a poor family in 1945. He worked on a farm, as a factory worker, and a salesman, before starting his own business selling soda and popsicles at 42. His company, Hangzhou Wahaha Group, has since become the largest beverage company in China, a 30 billion yuan ($4.88 billion) concern with 150 branches in China and 30,000 employees. Zong first made Forbes’ billionaire list in 2007 and has stayed on the list since.
2. Wang Jianlin
Wang is the chairman of Dalian Wanda Group. After 16 years in the People’s Liberation Army, Wang got his start in business as the manager of a real estate developing company. In 1992, he took over Dalian Wanda Group, and has made it into a real estate company worth 220 billion yuan ($35.75 billion) that owns shopping plazas, luxury hotels and cinemas. including the American company AMC. Wang himself is worth 54 billion yuan ($8.78 billion), and is the 128th richest man in the world.
3. Liu Yongxing
Liu founded East Hope Group in 1982, as one of the first entrepreneurs after China’s economic reform. East Hope trades in chemicals and fertilizers. Liu has a net worth of 42 billion yuan ($6.83 billion).
4. Ma Huateng
Ma is much younger than most others on this list. He was born in 1971 and founded his company, Tencent (HKG:0700) in 1998. Tencent’s first company, QQ, has one of the most popular instant message tools in China. The company has since diversified its portfolio to include social networking sites and multiplayer online games. Ma is worth 40.51 billion yuan ($6.58 billion).
5. Liang Wengen
Liang is the founder of Sany Group, a heavy manufacturer. Liang has spoken many times of his love for the Communist Party. “My property, even my life, belongs to the Party,” he said in an interview. Liang is worth 38 billion yuan ($6.18 billion).
6. Xu Jiayin
Xu is the founder of Evergrande Real Estate Group (HKG:3333), which owns land in 22 cities all over China. Xu is worth 35.15 billion yuan ($5.71 billion). Xu is also a prominent philanthropist, topping Forbes China’s Charity List in 2011 and 2012.
7. Robin Li
Robin Li is the founder, chairman and CEO of Baidu Inc. (Nasdaq:BIDU), which owns Baidu, China’s main search engine. Li attended Beijing University and received a masters degree from SUNY Buffalo in New York state. He founded Baidu in 2000, which successfully completed its IPO on Nasdaq in 2005. Li is worth 34.9 billion yuan ($5.67 billion).
8. Yang Huiyan
Yang is the majority shareholder of Country Garden Holdings (HKG:2007), a property development company her father started in 1997. In 2005, Yang’s father transferred his shares in the company to her. In 2007, Forbes named her the richest woman in Asia, with a net worth of 32.98 billion yuan ($5.36 billion).
9. Xu Rongmao
Xu is the founder and chairman of Shimao Property (HKG:0813), one of the largest property developers in Shanghai. He is worth 32.8 billion yuan ($5.33 billion).
10. Zhang Shiping & Family
Zhang Shiping is the chairman of Shandong Weiqiao Group, which owns power plants. Zhang Shiping and his family own a total of 48.79 percent of Weiqiao, with a net worth of 30 billion yuan ($4.88 billion).
Sophie is a graduate of Northwestern University. She covers the emerging markets in Southeast Asia, with a particular interest in foreign investment in the region....