Blame the trade war for a shorter China’s rich list?

BY SILVI WRITER

 

Pony Ma, founder of Tencent, dropped one place to third on an iconic China’s rich list, released on Wednesday, as the Shenzhen-based tech giant has shed nearly 40 percent in market value so far this year to fall out of the world’s top ten largest companies.

Pony Ma’s personal wealth decreased from 250 billion yuan in 2017 to 240 billion yuan ($35 billion) this year. This is the first time that his fortune has shrunk since he first made it onto the list in 2005.

Only 1,893 individuals made it onto the 2018 Hurun China Rich List, which has a threshold of 2 billion yuan, down 11 percent from last year.

Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman and chief researcher at Hurun Report, blamed the trade war between Beijing and Washington, as well as the almost 20 percent decline in A-shares so far this year, for the list’s downsizing, the first time since 2012.

The Hong Kong-listed Tencent tumbled by 6.8 percent to HK$267.00 on Thursday, registering a decline for the tenth consecutive day. While it jumped to be one of the top five companies in the world in terms of market value at the beginning of this year, along with Apple Inc and Microsoft Corp, it has now been squeezed out of the top 10 list.

Stocks in Hong Kong and Shanghai plunged on Thursday as a sell-off in Wall Street spread to Asia.

The Wall Street rout began on Wednesday, with investors dumping technology stocks, leading the fall in Hong Kong on Thursday.

Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index closed at a 17-month low of 25,266.37, down 3.54 percent. Stocks in Shanghai sank by 5.2 percent to close at their lowest level in four years.

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Jack Ma back to the top

E-commerce giant Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma climbed up two places to top of the Hurun list, the second time he has reached this pinnacle of wealth in the past four years.

He and his family’s wealth increased by 70 billion yuan to 270 billion yuan ($39 billion), on the back of a hike in the valuation of online payment arm Alipay’s mothership Ant Financial, explained by China Daily.

Alibaba’s market value reached $390 billion by the end of September, making it the most valuable company established in China and one of the 10 largest companies globally. The value of Ant Financial exceeded $100 billion.

Last year’s No 1, Xu Jiayin, chairman of real estate developer Evergrande Group, was demoted to second place this year, with his wealth shrinking 40 billion yuan to 250 billion yuan ($36 billion). However, his company’s sales in the first half of this year rose 25 percent to exceed $40 billion.

Top Three

219 new faces

The top 10 billionaires on the latest list created seven Fortune 500 companies. Hoogewerf said these rich people have created “globally influential companies”.

The manufacturing industry generated the most billionaires on the latest rich list, which is the fifth time in a row, followed by real estate, investment and information technology.

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There were 219 new faces on this year’s rich list, led by 38-year-old Huang Zheng, founder of e-commerce company Pinduoduo. Huang started Pinduoduo only three years ago and his personal wealth has now surged to $14 billion, putting him at 13th on the list.

Pinduoduo went public on the Nasdaq Stock Market on Jul 26.

Huang made his wealth grow over 100 billion yuan ($14.4 billion) in the shortest time period, according to Hoogewerf.

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