This is the week of the rich lists — both the Hurun Report and Forbes released their respective China’s Rich List.
While there are some ranking and net worth differences, both Forbes China Rich List and Hurun Rich List gave the top spot to Liang Wengen, the chairman of Sany Heavy Industry, who is estimated to be worth $9.3 billion by Forbes and $11 billion by Hurun.
Liang rose from fourth to first on Hurun’s ranking. As a result of China’s economic boom, his fortune soared as his construction machinery company became an industry giant powering the country’s urban transformation.
Sany is based in Changsha, the capital of Hunan in southern China. Along with Liang, several of his associates from Sany are on the rich lists.
“This is a remarkable story of people growing up dirt poor in Changsha in Hunan Province, and from one group of people, getting seven of them on the Forbes China Rich List, including four billionaires,” said Russell Flannery, a senior editor at Forbes.
“China’s rich have defied the global financial crisis with another record year of growth,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, founder of the Hurun Report.
China’s relentless construction boom coupled with a growing domestic retail market have been the key drivers for the growth in wealth.
Hurun Rich List 2011 has 271 US$ billionaires, up from 189 last year. But the real count may be much higher. “You can double the real number of billionaires in China to nearer 600,” says Hoogewerf.
Of the top 50 people on the Hurun list, 29 of them are in property.
For comparison, we’ve included a snapshot of the top 5 of China’s rich from both lists.
The average rich lister on the Hurun Rich List 2011 was born in 1960, making him 51 years old today. He left his government job (at age 33), and invested into what today is his main business (at age 37). It took him ten years to list his company and last year he started to cash out.
Also released on Thursday is a study by CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets that project China to account for 60 percent of the rise in high net-worth individuals’ wealth in Asia over the next five years.