LEXUS - Hurun China Rich List 2019
Friday, 11th October 2019
Source : Hurun Research Institute

The Hurun Research Institute released the LEXUS·Hurun China Rich List 2019, a ranking of the richest individuals in China, with a wealth cut-off of CNY 2 billion, equivalent to US$290 million.

World's largest wealth list provider releases China Rich List, proudly presented by Lexus for the second year running

Wealth calculations are a snapshot of 15 August, the same date as previous years. This is the 21st year of the list.

Rupert Hoogewerf, Chairman and Chief Researcher of Hurun Report, said: “The 2019 Lexus Hurun China Rich List is a snapshot of the private sector on the occasion of China’s 70th anniversary. The stories of these people tell the story of the Chinese economy.”

“This is the first time that the Hurun Rich List has shrunk for two consecutive years. Whilst last year could be put down to a 20% drop in the stock exchange, on the back of a slowing economy and the US-China trade, this year – in a year when stock markets have risen slightly – the shrink in the list is due to the impact of the digital economy. Tech entrepreneurs are replacing those from the traditional powerhouses of manufacturing and real estate. Twenty years ago, we did not have one dollar billionaire, yet now the average wealth of China’s Top 1800 individuals is a staggering US$1.4bn. Wealth is concentrating into the hands of those who are able to adapt to the digital economy.”

“I am delighted to partner for the second year with Lexus, which shares a similar passion towards innovation and the concept that the stories of these people tell the story of modern China.”

As the exclusive sponsor of Hurun China Rich List for two consecutive years, Lexus hopes to keep a keen insight into market dynamics and customers’ need for luxury lifestyle through continuous focus and thinking on the Rich List. In this way, Lexus will provide customers with amazing experience via emotional products and service.


266 dropped off last year’s list, adding to last year’s 456 drop-offs. “40% of the Hurun Rich List two years ago failed to make the cut this year, the biggest drop since records began 21 years ago. This works out at an average of one richlister dropping off each day for two years,” said Hoogewerf.

192 new faces, of which 2 jumped straight into the Top 100: Beijing-based Li Yongxin, 43, and mother Lu Zhongfang of China civil service exam trainer Offcn with US$8.4bn, and Silicon Valley-based Eric Yuan Zheng, 49, of online meeting platform Zoom with US$5.15bn. “There has been a changing of the guard in the Hurun Rich List, with 411 new faces these past two years,” said Hoogewerf.

Jack Ma, 55, for the second year running retained top spot with US$39bn, despite officially retiring as chairman of Alibaba last month. Pony Ma, 48, of Tencent rose one place to second with US$37bn, up 8% or US$2bn, overtaking property developer Xu Jiayin, whose wealth has now dropped US$13bn in the two years since he was China Number One, to take Xu to US$30bn. “The China Rich List is now looking like a two-horse race,” said Hoogewerf.

Husband and wife team Sun Piaoyang, 61, & Zhong Huijuan, 58, doubled wealth to US$25bn, shooting them to fifth spot, after HK listing of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder drug maker Hansoh. “Pharma continues to grow from strength to strength. 8% of the rich list this year is made up of entrepreneurs whose main source of wealth is pharma, double that of ten years ago.”

Colin Huang Zheng, 39, of ecommerce giant Pinduoduo became the first self-made entrepreneur born in the 80s to enter the Top 10, after his wealth grew US$5.7bn to take him to US$19bn at 7th spot. 156 individuals under 40 made the list this year, up 24. “Colin Huang has created a world first, making US$20bn since founding Pinduoduo just four years ago. Nobody in the world has ever made that much from a standing start.”

Food has had a good year. Pig farmer Qin Yinglin, 54, & wife Qian Ying, 53, of Muyuan broke into the Top 20, after their wealth tripled to US$14bn on the back of selling 5.8 million pigs in a market when pork price increased due to an outbreak of swine flu. ‘Hotpot King’ Zhang Yong, 48, & wife Shu Ping, 49, of Haidilao, doubled their wealth to US$17 billion, propelling them into Top 10 for the first time. ‘Soya Sauce King’ Pang Kang, 63, of Haitian, saw his wealth grow by US$4.5bn to US$12bn.

621 dollar billionaires, up 1, of which 32 have more than US$10bn, up 8; cutoff to make Top 50 up 23% to US$7.4bn, a new record; average wealth up 10% to US$1.4 billion, a new record. Total wealth rose 4.5% to US$2.6 trillion.

Youngest self-made on list, both 27 years: Chen Xiaoliang of online advertiser Duiba, and Ge Yuesheng of Bitcoin miner Bitmain.

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, 75, grew 24% to US$3bn, up 36 places to 162.

22 individuals from newly-launched STAR Board make list, led by Chen Wenyuan, 51, & Zhang Qian, 38, of electronic display test equipment maker HYC with US$3.1bn.

Manufacturing had a bad year, whilst tech had a good year. Manufacturing and real estate still make up just under 40% of the list, whilst tech overtook investments into third place.

Unicorns contributed 52 individuals this year. AI sector led by Tang XiaoOu of facial-recognition platform SenseTime, robotics led by Wang Tao of drone maker DJI, blockchain led by Zhan Ketuan of Bitcoin miner Bitmain, sharing economy led by Cheng Wei of Didi, e-vehicles led by He Xiaopeng of Xpeng Motors. Jenny Qian Zhiya, 42, of Luckin Coffee broke into the list with US$810 million, ranking 736, after founding Luckin Coffee just two years ago and listing it on Nasdaq in May. Revenues were over US$100 million in the second quarter of this year. “The speed of wealth creation in China is quite phenomenal,” said Hoogewerf.

18 individuals born outside China made the list, of which 5 are of non-Chinese origin: RAAS’s Kieu Hoang, Bestseller China’s Dan Friis, BeiGene’s John Oyler, Foreo’s Filip Sedic and Naked’s Grant Horsfield.

Zhejiang University and Peking University had the most alumni on the Hurun Rich List, with 39 and 38 individuals. Shanghai Jiaotong University and China Science and Technology University had good years, breaking into the Top 10 alumni. Hoogewerf said: "The spirit of entrepreneurship is red hot amongst the alumni of China’s top universities. Curiously, though, 45% did not go to university, graduating instead from the ‘University of Life’.”


  • 1,819 individuals made the cut of CNY 2 billion, 4% down on last year's 1893. Hoogewerf said, “This is the first time in 21 years that the Hurun Rich List has shrunk for two consecutive years. The only other years the list shrunk, and only very slightly, were in 2008 at the time of the global financial crisis and in 2002 after the tech bubble burst,” said Hoogewerf.
  • 1,136 saw their wealth shrink or stay the same, of which 266 dropped out of the list. 934 individuals saw their wealth grow, of which 192 were new entrants.
  • 19 individuals have a wealth of CNY 100 billion, up a staggering 7 or 60%, a new record for the Hurun Rich List. Hoogewerf said: "Despite the list shrinking, average wealth jumped 10% to hit a new record of US$1.4bn and the cut-off to the Top 50 has grown 20% to US$7.4bn, also a new record. Companies with strong business models, good teams and that can maintain a spirit of entrepreneurship are pushing forward relentlessly.”
  • Fastest risers. Ningxia coal miner Dang Yanbao saw his wealth rise seven times to US$8.4bn on the back of a public listing of Baofeng Energy. Other fast risers include Du Shuanghua of Rizhao Iron and Steel, Wu Junbao, 53, of vocational training platform Xinhua Education, Li Xianyu, 65, & family of syringe maker Double Dove, Shen Wei and Chen Mingyong of mobile phone brands VIVO and OPPO.
  • Bad year. Robin Li Yanhong & Melissa Ma Dongmin of Baidu have had a bad year, losing US$7.7bn or 43% to drop them 25 places to 34. Baidu has struggled to monetize its initiatives in AI and self-driving cars, and has been losing market share in advertising revenues to newcomers like Zhang Yiming, 36, of Bytedance. Robin Li made headlines in July, when someone poured a bottle of water over him on stage in Beijing. Others that were down include Ma Xingtian of ginseng pharma brand Kangmei, down almost 90% or US$5bn to US$840 million; Lei Jun of Xiaomi, down 32% or US$5bn to US$10.8bn, Li Bin, 45, of e-vehicle brand NIO, down 52% or US$1bn to US$860 million and Jason Jiang Nanchun, 46, of FocusMedia, down 44% to US$3.1bn.
  • The proportion making their wealth in IT increased from 10.3% of the list to 11.7%, surpassing Investments to become the third largest source of wealth for entrepreneurs on the list. Manufacturing is still the most important source of wealth for the Hurun List, but the proportion has fallen from 26.1% last year to 24.5%. Real estate is second, accounting for 14.8%, same as last year; Investments came in fourth, a slight decrease from 11.6% to 11.4%; Pharma continued its rise, up from 7.1% to 7.6%; The service industry maintained rapid growth, rising from 5.1% to 5.7%; Retail, Agriculture, and New Energy industries rose slightly; Foods & Drinks, Natural Resources, Apparel, Media Entertainment, Construction and Iron & Steel industries declined slightly. “IT led the way for growth this past year, followed by pharma and investments," said Hoogewerf.
  • STAR Board. 22 shareholders from 17 companies listed on the newly-founded STAR Board, an equivalent to a Nasdaq-style board for tech cos. Their total wealth came to US$19 billion, led by Chen Wenyuan & Zhang Qian of HYC with US$3.15bn. “The escalation in the US-China trade war has intensified interest in the recently-launched Star Board.”
  • 156 people under 40 made the list, 24 more than last year. 58 of them are self-made, 8 more than last year. Pinduoduo’s Colin Huang Zheng, 39, shot into the Top 10 with US$19bn, up US$5.7 billion. Zhang Yiming, 36, from video-sharing and news aggregation platform Bytedance, rose 6 places to break into the Top 20 after a 46% rise in his fortune to US$13.5 billion.
  • 11 people born in the 90s made the list, one more than last year. Two are self-made aged 27: Chen Xiaoliang from Duiba, and Ge Yuesheng from Bitcoin miner Bitmain.
  • Education. 3 new faces within the Top 5 richest individuals from education. Li Yongxin, 43, and his mother Lu Zhongfang from China civil service exam trainer Offcn, shot straight in at Number One with US$8.4bn. Second and third were Zhang Bangxin, 39, of after-school tutoring service platform TAL Education, up 22% to US$6.3bn and Michael Yu Minhong, 57, of English language training platform New Oriental, up 25% to US$2.85bn. Two other new faces in the Top 5 are Wu Junbao, 53, of Anhui-based vocational training provider China East Education, up six-fold to US$2.15bn and Chen Xiangdong, 48, of K-12 after-school tutoring service provider Genshuixue with US$1.5bn. China East Education provides training in culinary arts and information technology, as well as auto services with sales last year of US$260 million. “Making money in the field of education in China has gone through a big transformation these past two years,” says Hoogewerf.
  • The average age was 54, same as last year.
  • Where they live. Beijing has the highest concentration of richlisters, with 286 or 16% of the list. Shenzhen stayed ahead of Shanghai. Hangzhou, Guangzhou and Hong Kong followed. Sichuan had a good year.
  • Women. The proportion of women dropped slightly to 27.2% from 28.7% last year. 70% are self-made. Yang Huiyan, 38, scion of property developer Country Garden, is the richest woman with US$25 billion, up 17%.
  • The proportion of political appointments rose to 7.6% from 7.5% last year. 138 were delegates to the NPC or CPPCC, 4 down on last year. NPC delegates were down 5 to 72, whilst CPPCC delegates were up 1 to 66. Six are standing committee members of the CPPCC;8 are vice chairmen of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce.
  • 22 head up Fortune Global 500 companies, of which 14 are their main shareholder.
  • 17 are in trouble with the law, of which 16 are under investigation and one in prison. In addition, 3 passed away: Zhang Shiping of Weiqiao Pioneering, died of illness aged 73; Zhang Shaori of Zhongsheng Pharma died of illness aged 63; Royalcover’s Wu Zhensheng, 54, died in a car accident.
  • Cross-border M&A. This year’s largest cross-border acquisition was the US$5.7bn Anta acquisition of Finnish brand Amer Sports. “Increased foreign exchange currency controls have brought cross-border M&A activity to a virtual standstill this year.” says Hoogewerf.
  • Chinese star signs. Those born in the Year of the Rabbit top the list for the eighth consecutive year, followed by dragons. Rats are still the worst performers this year.
  • Chinese surnames. Those with the Li surname overtook Wang for the first time. Zhu, Sun and Guo have also made progress this year.
  • Compared with 10 years ago. 2 of the Top 10 a decade ago are still in the Top 10: Yang Huiyan and Wang Jianlin.
  • Stockmarkets and currency. “This past year stockmarkets and the Chinese Yuan have been relatively consistent. The Shanghai and Shenzhen Composite Indexes rose 3.4% and 5% year on year, Nasdaq was flat and while the Hang Seng fell 6.7%, those listed there from our rich list saw their wealth grow by 4%. In the same period the Chinese Yuan depreciated by 2% with the US dollar,” said Hoogewerf.

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