Expect a rush on champagne in China today: new figures reveal a 25 per cent surge in the number of dollar billionaires there, with 315 people now worth at least nine zeroes.
Property was the biggest reason for the leap in super-wealthy individuals in China, with a quarter of people on the annual Hurun Report, which tracks the country’s richest, making their money in real estate.
It overtook manufacturing to become the most common source of wealth in China, with six of the top 10 billionaires making their money in construction.
Topping the list for the first time was Wang Jianlin, the property developer behind Dalian Wanda Group, whose fortune doubled to $22 billion (£14 billion). Wang overtook drinks maker Zong Qinghou as China’s richest person. The richest woman, Yang Huiyan, daughter of the co-founder of one of China’s biggest developers, was ranked fifth on the list with $8.3 billion.
Overall, China’s richest 1000 people became 27 per cent better off in the past 12 months, the report found. The close ties between business and politics were also clear: 153 on the latest list have been appointed to the National People’s Congress or the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.
But Rupert Hoogewerf, who founded Hurun Report, admitted that “valuing the wealth of China’s richest is as much an art as it is a science”.