The annual report found a surge in wealthy billionaires in China amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, mainly in food and beverage as well as emerging technologies, and a major stock rally in 2020.
China has topped the United States in 2020 as the nation with more dollar-denominated billionaires, a Hurun Global Rich List 2021 report found this week.
China had 1,058 billionaires compared to the 696 in the US, the report said, adding that 318 of the 610 new billionaires were in China compared to 95 in the US.
The Asian country also had six out of ten of the world’s largest cities for multi-billionaires, with Beijing ranking first on the list for the sixth consecutive year at 145 tycoons, Shanghai at second with 113, Shenzhen ranking fourth at 105 people and Hong Kong at fifth with 82, the report said. Shanghai beat New York, who had 112 billionaires.
It added that Asia had 51 percent of the world’s billionaires valued at 45 percent of total wealth, compared to North America at 24 percent and 33 percent, respectively.
Total wealth held by billionaires also rose 32 percent to $14.7tn, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the report said.
Who Were The Biggest Earners?
The top income earners were still Americans, with Tesla chief executive Elon Musk raking first as the world’s wealthiest billionaire valued at $197bn and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos reaching $189bn.
But Nongfu Spring founder and chairman, Zhong Shanshan, entered the list at $85bn, or seventh place, following a record initial public offering (IPO) on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) worth $87bn.
Tencent Holding founder and chief executive Ma Huateng rose eight spots to 14th place with a net worth of $74bn.
But Alibaba Group Holding founder and chief executive Jack Ma fell to 25th place, or $55bn in net worth.
Losses came after the fintech and media tycoon, who owns the South China Morning Post, faced a halted IPO for Alipay subsidy Ant Group in November last year over criticisms he made a month before.
Electric vehicles, e-commerce, biotechnology and blockchain were also the fastest growing sectors of China’s richest people, the report said.
China’s Wealth Grows As Beijing Inks International Free Trade Agreements
The news follows a report from Britain’s Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) revealing China’s economy was set to surpass the US by 2028, with China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) adding the economy had been boosted 2.3 percent due to effective COVID-19 controls and emergency economic stimulus.
China also topped the United States as the largest market for Asia-Pacific firms, according to HSBC Holdings, beating the US by one point at 29 percent.
The findings come after China inked the 15-member Regional Cooperative Economic Agreement (RCEP) with Asia-Pacific partners, or the world’s largest free trade agreement valued at $26.6tn, along with a comprehensive trade agreement ‘in principle’ with the European Union, the world’s largest bilateral agreement in history.