Zong Qinghou

China's top 100 rich-list fall in value

Global slowdown affects the wealthiest as beverage tycoon Zong Qinghou tops list

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 October, 2012, 4:57am


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The global economic slowdown has reduced the collective wealth of the mainland's 100 richest people by 7 per cent to US$220 billion this year, Forbes has revealed.

"It's relatively rare for total wealth held by the members of our list to decline," said Russell Flannery, Forbes senior editor.

By contrast, the total wealth of China's 400 richest people rose 8 per cent in US dollar terms or 4 per cent in local currency terms to US$459 billion last year, said Forbes.

Topping this year's Forbes China rich list is Zong Qinghou, chairman of mainland beverage company Wahaha, with an estimated wealth of US$10 billion, and incease of US$3.5 billion from last year.

Wahaha told Forbes that Zong's stake in his Hangzhou-based company is more than 80 per cent, not the 29 per cent figure filed with the Hangzhou municipal government which a Wahaha spokesman said was incomplete data.

Born in Zhejiang province, of which Hangzhou is the capital, Zong worked at menial jobs in his youth because he only had secondary school education.

He subsequently built Wahaha into China's biggest beverage company.

Dropping from top spot last year, Liang Wengen, chairman of Sany group, is sixth on the list with an estimated wealth of US$5.8 billion this year, down from US$9.3 billion last year. Liang's wealth last year was due to China's heavy spending on infrastructure.

Sany is China's biggest maker of construction machinery, but mainland demand for construction equipment has since slowed, said Forbes.

Robin Li, chairman of the mainland's top search engine company Baidu, is second in this year's rich list, while Ma Huateng, chairman of Hong Kong-listed internet firm Tencent Holdings, ranks fourth.

Half the top 10 in this year's rich list are in the property sector.

In third place, Wang Jianlin, chairman of Dalian Wanda Group, saw his wealth double to US$8 billion from US$4 billion last year.

Earlier this year, Wanda made the largest acquisition by a Chinese firm in the US, when it bought AMC Entertainment Holdings, the second largest US cinema operator, for US$2.6 billion.

"With notable exceptions like Wang Jianlin, big property developers in China had a rough year as the government moved to curb speculation," Forbes said.

Forbes named seven property magnates on its China rich list whose wealth had decreased from last year.

Hui Ka-yan, chairman of Evergrande Real Estate Group, who occupies eighth spot this year, saw his wealth drop 21 per cent to US$4.9 billion, while the net worth of Zhang Xin, chief executive of Soho China, fell 20 per cent to US$3.3 billion.

Wong Kwong-yu, founder of Gome Electric Appliances, ranks 78 on Forbes China rich list this year with a net worth of US$1.2 billion, a decrease of US$2 billion from last year.

Wong is serving a 14-year sentence in a mainland jail for insider trading and other financial crimes.