China’s Richest 2019: Growing Consumer Appetite Boosts Fortunes Of Nation’s Wealthiest
This story is part of Forbes’ coverage of China’s Richest 2019.
The headlines from China in the past year have been gloomy. Trade friction with the U.S. has risen, while GDP growth in the world’s second-largest economy slowed to a near three-decade low of 6%. Happily for the country’s wealthiest, however, there’s more good news than bad among the members of our list of China’s richest.
The total wealth of the 400 members of the China Rich List rose by more than a fifth from a year ago, to $1.29 trillion, as China’s consumers spent more on everything and spent more of it online. More than half the listees saw their fortunes climb in the past year, while a quarter saw their fortunes fall. The minimum net worth needed to make the list this year was $1 billion, back to 2017’s threshold, after dropping in 2018 to $840 million. There were 60 newcomers to the list; returnees made up most of the rest.
Topping the list for a second year is Jack Ma, who recently resigned as chairman of the e-commerce giant he co-founded, Alibaba, to focus on philanthropy. Ma’s fortune rose to $38.2 billion from $34.6 billion a year earlier as New York-listed Alibaba gained on China’s e-commerce boom. Second and third on the list: Tencent CEO Huateng “Pony” Ma, with a fortune worth $36 billion, and Evergrande Group Chairman Hui Ka Yan, worth an estimated $27.7 billion, their ranks are unchanged from last year.
Growing fortunes in online shopping appear throughout the list. Colin Huang, CEO of e-commerce site Pinduoduo, saw his estimated net worth soar to $21.2 billion from $11.25 billion last year as Pinduoduo gained on rival JD.com. Entrepreneurs who provide services tied to e-commerce …