Despite the wealth being created in the mainland, private bankers are struggling to make their customers understand what they can offer. Forbes estimated last year that there were 66 billionaires in the mainland, while the Hurun Report's number was 100. Either way, the mainland's billionaires were second only to the United States in numbers, and were fast catching up in terms of the money they earned, according to recent reports. Jason Jiang, the founder of Focus Media, is worth US$1.1 billion, while Robin Li, the founder of Baidu, is worth US$2.4 billion. These men are in their 30s. Their names aren't well known, but they lead many others as the mainland's wealth grows. For private bankers, what makes these billionaires different from those in other countries is the speed with which they have achieved their fortunes, which also has a direct bearing on how they view returns from their investments, the risks they are prepared to take, and what they ultimately wish to do with that wealth. Because private banking was new to the mainland, few people with a large amount of wealth fully understood what private banking could offer them, said Andrew Tung, managing director/global market manager - China, Citi Private Bank. 'Despite the brisk growth of high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) in China, private banks ... generally face the challenge of operating in a market where few HNWIs understand what private banking can offer,' he said. 'There is a lack of understanding about the importance of portfolio management, wealth protection and transfer, because wealth management is still at a nascent stage.' The opportunities for private bankers in the mainland can only increase as the wealth grows. The independent market analyst Datamonitor forecasts that there will be almost 16 million wealthy individuals, holding more than US$6 trillion, in the mainland by 2011. The number of wealthy individuals is expected to grow by 9 per cent compound annually from last year to 2011, while their aggregate onshore liquid assets will grow 9.5per cent compound annually. 'In the case of China, much of the private wealth created in the past 10 to 15 years is first generation entrepreneurial wealth,' Mr Tung said. 'Such wealth tends to be concentrated in the family business.' 'As a global trusted adviser, the key task is to help clients diversify into other classes such as mutual funds, fixed income or real estate to reduce the risk of concentration. We expect Chinese billionaires to be more astute and sophisticated in their investment and wealth management approaches as they become better acquainted with the services and capabilities of private banks. They will be more demanding in terms of increasing returns and reducing risk.' While billionaires in Hong Kong were looking at returns of 10 to 20 per cent, for some of the billionaires in the mainland those returns were often not viewed as high enough, said Grace Chow Wai-man, head of private banking at The Bank of East Asia. 'In terms of investment, their style is a little different from Hong Kong,' she said. 'In Hong Kong, because people have already gathered wealth for a long time, they are likely to be a bit more sophisticated. They will have experienced some ups and downs. In general they will know the market better and be a bit more conservative, whereas the billionaires in China will think that money can be made easily.' As private banking is a relatively new industry in the mainland, Ms Chow said it was important for private bankers to ensure that those wealthy clients understood how to manage their assets and to ensure that they understood the risks of certain types of investment. She said Hongkongers were more exposed to money issues because 'we have it on the news every day'. 'For private bankers to be successful, hopefully for the longer term, they need to be really open and really clear about the risks when they talk to these wealthy clients.' Skyrocketing share prices have inflated the worth of many companies in the mainland, including PetroChina, Alibaba.com, one of the mainland's biggest internet companies, and real estate company Country Garden. While analysts told The New York Times that the stupendous rises in the values of such companies could diminish if the mainland's stock market turned out to be a bubble, the number of expanding private banking interests tells a different story - those 100 billionaires are just the first. Ms Chow said she believed that the wealth would increase for the foreseeable future, particularly since the government was trying to ensure that the economy doesn't overheat.