China currently boasts the world’s 2nd largest economy, preceded only by the United States. It’s a communist country that has approximately 1.4 billion people (2009), which is represented by a labor force close to 820 million (2009). In the last 30 years, the country has gone through an amazing economic change. According to China’s statistics, they went from a poverty rate of 53% in 1981 to only 2.5% in 2005. The huge surge in their economy and movement towards a more capitalistic society has produced many of today’s richest people.
On the Forbes annual list of “The World’s Billionaires,” there are now 115 Chinese citizens whose net worth are equal to or greater than a billion US dollars. The majority of the richest seem to have made their money through Real Estate and the Internet, but there are some uncommon industries as well. One of the top 10 actually made his billions as China’s largest beverage producer. Let’s quickly run through the top 10 richest people in China for 2011 and call the list “Chinas Super Rich.”
#10 – $4.6 Billion
Wang Jianlin just made the last spot of the list with a net worth of $4.6 billion. At 56 year’s old, he’s a self-made real estate mogul with a massive portfolio of commercial real estate holdings. He is currently ranked #232 on Forbes’ world’s billionaires. His most recent act of philanthropy was pledging $150 million to the reconstruction of a Buddhist temple in Nanjing, China.
#9 – $5 Billion
Ma Huateng is the youngest billionaire on our list of Chinas super rich at 39 years old. He made his fortune as co-founder of Tencent, Chinas largest service portal. His company is owner of the website QQ.com, which is currently ranked as the 10th most popular site in the world. Mr. Ma is currently ranked #208 on Forbes’ world’s billionaires.
#8 – $5 Billion
Zhang Jindong is tied with Mr. Ma at #208 on the Forbes list. However, Mr. Zhang made his money in the retail industry. At 48, he’s chairman of Chairman of Suning Appliances of Nanjing, China’s largest electrical appliance retailer. His company is benefitting tremendously in China’s current economic climate and is considering expanding his territory into Hong Kong.
#7 – $5.1 Billion
Hui Ka Yan, the founder of Evergrande Real Estate Group, was actually China’s richest person back in 2009. His company is publicly traded on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and has over 18,000 employees. Mr. Hui is 52 and is ranked #200 on Forbes list of billionaires.
#6 – $5.5 Billion
Wu Yajun and her husband take the #185 spot on Forbes list. The 47 year old real estate tycoon is actually a former journalist, who made her money in real estate. She is chairman of the real estate development company Longfor Properties, which is list on the Hong Kong Exchange. Ms. Wu is the only woman on Chinas Super Rich list, but shares her fortune with her husband.
#5 – $5.5 Billion
He Xiangjian made his fortune as one of the world’s largest manufacturer of appliances. He’s the largest shareholder in the appliance maker, Midea Group. His company is planning to introduce a line of solar-powered air conditioner this year. This 68 year old is a self-made billionaire who relaxes by golfing.
#4 – $5.7 Billion
Li Li & Family are some of China’s newest billionaires. When Mr. Li’s and his wife founded the pharmaceutical company back in the 1980’s, they never realized that it would be this successful. He is chairman of Shenzhen Hepalink Pharmaceutical, a producer of anticoagulant Heparin. He and his wife, both chemists, take the #179 spot on Forbes list of billionaires.
#3 – $5.9 Billion
Zong Qinghou is a billionaire who made his money in the beverage industry. His company, The Hangzhou Wahaha Group, is the largest beverage producer in China. Despite the company’s funny sounding name, it employs over 20,000 people and has made approximately $1.7 billion in profit last year. At 65, Mr. Zong is the 169th richest person in the world.
#2 – $8 Billion
Liang Wengen founded his company back in 1989 with his classmate. From a small factory, it grew into China’s largest construction equipment manufacturer. The Sany Group has over 53,000 employees and sold over $7 billion in equipment last year. At 54 and chairman of the Sany Group, he is the 2nd richest man in China and the 104th richest in the world.
#1 – $9.4 Billion
We finally reach the richest man in China. Many technology professionals worldwide have heard of Robin Li because he’s the founder of Baidu. On a global scale, his company is one of Google’s direct competitors. Where Google owns the #1 spot on the list of the most popular websites, Baidu comes in very close at #6.
What makes Mr. Li unique is the fact that he holds an undergraduate degree from a Chinese university and a graduate degree from the University of Buffalo in New York. He was an engineer in Silicon Valley before starting Baidu in 2000, so he understands both the American and Chinese business culture. At only 42 years old, he is at the top of our “Chinas Super Rich” list and the 95th richest person in the world.