Forbes: Slower economic growth hits China's richest

  • Business
  • Friday, 12 Oct 2012

SINGAPORE: Slower economic growth took a toll on many of China's 100 biggest fortunes, said the new Forbes Asia's China rich list.

The list shows a seven per cent decline in the wealth of the top 100 richest people to US$220 billion.

But that still beats the 20 per cent drop in the Shanghai Stock Exchange Index since the list was last published in 2011.

Beverage king Zong Qinghou of China's Wahaha is back at the top of this year's Forbes China rich list.

He last ranked No.1 on the list in 2010 and returns this year with a net worth of US$10 billion, up US$3.5 billion from the year before. Others who faced a challenging consumer sector did not fare as well.

Suning Appliance chairman, Zhang Jindong, saw his net worth down US$2.4 billion, even though he opened up a commanding market lead over longtime competitor, Wong Kwong Yu of Gome, who saw a US$2 billion drop.

Several property tycoons saw a drop in their net worths.

Last year's list leader, Liang Wengen, is off US$3.4 billion as demand slows for the building equipment produced by Sany Group, which he chairs. He is now at No.6 on the list with US$5.9 billion.

Technology leaders saw mixed fortunes.

Robin Li, the richest Chinese according to Forbes' billionaires accounting early this year, dropped back to US$8.1 billion due to a slide in the stock price of his search engine, Baidu.

Yet some of the biggest gainers came from the Internet.

Tencent's Ma Huateng saw his ranking rise to No.4 from No.13 with a net worth of US$6.4 billion. His company's offerings include instant messaging and online games.

Jack Ma of Alibaba Group enjoyed a notable rise to No.11 at US$3.4 billion.

And in the electronics sector, Pan Zhengmin, co-founder of Apple supplier AAC Technologies returns to the top 100 with a net worth of US$2.1 billion.

Russell Flannery, Forbes senior editor and Shanghai bureau chief, said: "It's relatively rare when the total wealth held by the members of our list actually declines.

"Yet the decline among the wealth of the top 100 compares favourably with the overall drop in the main index of the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

"That outperformance by some indicates there are still growth opportunities in China despite the recent economic gloom," he said.

Zhou Jiangong, editor-in-chief of Forbes China, meanwhile added: "This year's list saw some listees lose ground while others in the same sector made gains. "Suffice to say that this year's list reflects the uncertainty that can arise from China's moderating economic expansion," he said. - Reuters

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