Country Garden's Yang tops mainland rich list

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 October, 2007, 12:00am

Yang Huiyan, the 26-year-old daughter of Country Garden Holdings' co-founder, topped this year's Forbes list of the richest people in China with a net worth of US$16 billion.

Her fortune, which came from her farmer-turned-tycoon father Yeung Kwok-keung, also made her the richest woman in Asia, according to the United States magazine's tally. Mr Yeung transferred all his shares in his property firm to his second daughter two years ago.

The rise of the Guangdong-born and US-educated Ms Yang as the richest person in the mainland was well-expected after shares of Country Garden, which raised HK$14.85 billion in a Hong Kong initial public offering in April, soared in value.

The shares have more than doubled in price since the offering, closing at HK$13.04 yesterday giving the company a market capitalisation of HK$213 billion. Ms Yang owns 9.52 billion shares in the company, 58 per cent of the total.

Country Garden's initial public offering also spawned four other billionaires - Yang Erzhu, Su Rubo, Zhang Yaoyuan and Ou Xueming - all executive directors of the company.

For the first time, all 40 people on Forbes Asia's 2007 China Rich List are billionaires, compared with only 15 last year, according to the magazine, attributing the rise to a boom in the nation's stock and property markets.

Their combined net worth was US$120 billion, up more than three times from last year's US$38 billion, it said.

Last year's No1, Wong Kwong-yu, the founder and chairman of the nation's biggest electronics retailer Gome Electrical Appliances Holdings, fell nine places to No10, even though his wealth increased 56 per cent to US$3.6 billion from US$2.3 billion a year ago.

Last year's richest woman, Cheung Yan, the co-founder and chairwoman of containerboard maker Nine Dragons Paper (Holdings) saw her wealth increase 126 per cent from US$1.5 billion to US$3.4 billion, even as her ranking slipped to No11 from No5 last year.