Mao Zedong's granddaughter among China's richest people

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 May, 2013, 5:31pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 4:13am

Mao Zedong's granddaughter has become one of China's richest people, according to an annual ranking of the nation's richest 500.

Kong Dongmei, the granddaughter of the founder of the People's Republic and his third wife He Zizhen, along with her husband Chen Dongsheng have the combined wealth of five billion yuan (HK$6.3 billion), putting them at number 242 in the annual ranking by the Guangdong-based New Fortune magazine.

Their marriage has only become publicly known last year. It was rumoured the couple of 15 years could only marry after Chen divorced his previous wife in 2011.

Chen is the founder of China's first national auction house Guardian and the country's fourth largest insurance house Taikang.

"The House of Mao will never engage in business," Mao's only known grandson Mao Xinyu, a major general in the People's Liberation Army, reportedly pledged, perhaps to avoid suspicion of exploiting the illustrious ancestor for personal gain.

Xinyu's comments came at a time when China was debating the legacy and business ties of disgraced Chongqing Party Secretary Bo Xilai, himself the son of one of the founding fathers of Communist China, Bo Yibo.

Mao Xinyu is Kong's half-brother. His grandmother Yang Kaihui was Mao's second wife. Both Kong and Mao Xinyu have written books titled My Grandpa Mao.

In stark contrast to their aristocratic background, the man who topped the list of China's richest, Zong Qinghou, started his career as a salt harvester in Zhejiang province.

With an estimated wealth of 70 billion yuan, the co-founder of the Wahaha beverages group has 14-times the wealth of the Great Helmsman's offspring.