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Ranks of billionaires top 300 in China

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 September, 2013, 3:05am

The number of US dollar billionaires in China has passed 300 for the first time, an annual ranking of wealth shows.

The Hurun Report, a luxury magazine publisher, named property tycoon Wang Jianlin as China's new richest person, saying he had more than doubled his worth to US$22 billion.

There were a total of 315 US dollar billionaires in the country, it said, up 64 from a year ago.

The average fortune of the top 1,000 stood at US$1.04 billion - more than double their US$440 million during the global financial crisis five years ago. But some were dogged by scandal.

Three of last year's 10 richest people in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan, have been detained amid a corruption crackdown in the province.

Two others on the list are in prison, while Xu Ming, who joined this year at No 676 with US$490 million, was a key witness against Bo Xilai last month in China's biggest political corruption trial in decades.

According to court transcripts, Xu said he gave Bo 21 million yuan (HK$26.4 million) in bribes, including purchasing a villa in the French resort of Cannes for Bo's wife.

Real estate businesswoman and recent divorcee Wu Yajun fell from No 8 to No 22 and her wealth dropped nearly a quarter to US$4.6 billion after she gave her ex-husband US$3 billion - propelling him into the Top 50 in his own right.

Inclusion on the Hurun rich list could be a mixed blessing, said Oliver Rui, an academic at the China Europe International Business School in Beijing. The market values of companies controlled by those on the rich list drop "significantly" in the three years following their appearance, he said in a research paper.

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