South china morning post
China overtook the US to host the most dollar billionaires as the 2020 stock market rally defied Covid-19 and shaped wealth at a record pace
One in two newly minted billionaires in US dollars last year was in China, the first country to come out of a nationwide pandemic lockdown and the only major economy to expand last year, according to a list by the Hurun Report. China outperformed the United States last year, becoming the first country to have more than $ 1,000-denominated tycoons, with 1,058 billionaires last year compared to 696 in the US. This emerges from the latest Hurun Global Rich List 2021. Of the 610 newly minted tycoons worldwide, 318 were in China, compared with 95 in the U.S. based on January 15 ratings, Hurun said. “The world has never created so much wealth in a year like this, much more than expected in a year so disrupted by Covid-19,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, research director and chairman of Hurun Report. “A boom in the equity markets, partly due to quantitative easing and a host of new listings, has created eight new dollar billionaires a week over the past year.” Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China. The richest people on the planet collectively got richer in 2020 as the world plunged into unprecedented economic slumps caused by the worst public health crisis in decades. The collective wealth of 0.01 percent rose 32 percent to $ 14.7 trillion. Their ranks also grew to 3,228 known billionaires in 2,402 companies in 68 countries, according to the report. Elon Musk is the richest centibillionaire in the world. Photo: Reuters alt = Elon Musk is the richest centibillionaire in the world. Photo: Reuters China had six of the ten largest cities in the world with the highest concentration of billionaires, with Beijing topping the list for the sixth consecutive year and home to 145 of the ultra-rich. Shanghai was in second place with 113 billionaires, New York in fifth place with 112. Hong Kong ranks fifth behind Shenzhen’s 105 billionaires with 82 billionaires.Elon Musk was the world’s richest centibillionaire when Tesla’s share price soared 622 percent in 2020, growing his fortune to an estimated $ 197 billion, more than the founder of Amazon.com, Jeff Bezos, on $ 189 billion. Colin Huang Zheng, founder and CEO of the online group discounter Pinduoduo. Photo: CNS via Reuters alt = Colin Huang Zheng, founder and CEO of the online group discounter Pinduoduo. Photo: CNS via Reuters Zhong Shanshan, founder and chairman of water bottler Nongfu Spring, was one of the newest members of the multimillionaire club in seventh place with an estimated fortune of $ 85 billion. The initial public offering of his bottled water company (IPO) was one of the hottest stock sales in Hong Kong, raising record capital of HKD 677 billion ($ 87 billion), about a third of the city’s cash in circulation, with subscriptions from avid retailer investors. Zhong, who is based in Zhejiang, the provincial capital of Hangzhou, was Asia’s new richest person, ousting Reliance Industries’ Mukesh Ambani with $ 83 billion, Hurun said. “Asia has more billionaires than the rest of the world combined for the first time in perhaps hundreds of years,” said Hoogewerf. “Wealth creation moves to Asia.” Ma Huateng, also known as Pony, was the 14th richest billionaire in the world. His rank rose eight spots as the net worth of the founder and chairman of Tencent Holdings rose 70 percent to $ 74 billion. Jack Ma’s family, whose Alibaba Group Holding owns the newspaper, fell four notches to 25th place, and their fortunes grew 22 percent to $ 55 billion. (Left to right): Martin Lee Ka-shing of Henderson Land Development, co-chair; Lee Shau-kee, former chairman; and Peter Lee Ka-kit, co-chair. Photo: Sam Tsang alt = (left to right): Martin Lee Ka-shing of Henderson Land Development, co-chair; Lee Shau-kee, former chairman; and Peter Lee Ka-kit, co-chair. Photo: Sam Tsang Wealth creation was helped by the boom in global equity markets, led by Nasdaq’s 44 percent surge and a 35 percent surge in Shenzhen’s stock market. India and Japan rose by over 20 percent, the report said. The US dollar depreciated 7 percent against the yuan and 9 percent against the euro. Only three Hong Kong billionaires made it into the top 50 in China when tycoons Lee Shau-kee of Henderson Land Development, Li Ka-shing of Cheung Kong Group and Henry Chen of New World Development dwarfed their fortunes on mainland counterparts. Electric vehicles, e-commerce, blockchain, and biotechnology were the fastest growing industries over the past year, the report said. The list included billionaires whose fortunes were amassed by electric vehicles that more than tripled their fortunes. The fastest wealth creator was Li Bin of electric vehicle maker NIO, which grew ten-fold to $ 10 billion. E-commerce platform Colin Huang Zheng, founder of Pinduoduo, was promoted to the top 20. His estimated net worth rose 286 percent to $ 69 billion, Hurun said. This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative language coverage of China and Asia in more than a century. You can find more SCMP stories in the SCMP app or on the SCMP’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2021 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved. Copyright (c) 2021. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.