40 new names on the rich list

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 October, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 13 October, 2003, 12:00am

Rankings will show that tycoons on the mainland are becoming more wealthy

A list of China's 100 richest people will be published this week - with 40 new names added to the lineup since last year.

It will show that China's richest tycoons are wealthier than ever, with the cutoff point at US$110 million, up from $85 million last year.

The Euromoney list will appear on Thursday, two weeks ahead of the widely distributed rival list produced by Forbes magazine, which first ran the rankings in 1999.

Rupert Hoogewerf, the chartered accountant who drew up the list for Forbes for four years, parted company with the firm in June and teamed up with the London-based Euromoney. Forbes is using its own staff to prepare its list, to be published on October 30.

Mr Hoogewerf said the increased wealth of those on the list reflected the rapid growth in the economy and better information being available about the wealthy.

'There is better business news available, as the business media gets more mature,' he said.

Mr Hoogewerf and his team compiled the list from public information, such as that issued by listed companies and data available in the media and on the internet, and information provided by contacts across China. A fax was sent to each of those on the list, asking them to verify the figures.

'A quarter were happy to give the details, another quarter will check the data but not give you anything new and 5 to 10 per cent say they would prefer not to be on the list. It is like a red flag to a bull,' he said.

He said the list was not comprehensive. 'There could be 50 people out there missing.' These include those who keep their operations out of public view and those, such as relatives and associates of high leaders, who go to great lengths to conceal the link between them and their businesses.

Absent from this year's list is Chau Ching-ngai, who ranked 11th last year with US$320 million. Chau was arrested in May. Also absent will be Li Haicang, a Shanxi steel magnate who was 27th last year. He was murdered by an associate in January.

Euromoney will also publish lists on information technology, property and capital markets.