(Yicai Global) Feb. 27 -- Alibaba founder Jack Ma has leapfrogged Tencent Chief Executive Pony Ma to become China's richest person for the first time since 2014, according to the latest version of the Hurun Global Rich List. Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos tops the list again with a USD147 billion fortune.
Jack Ma went up four places compared with last year to become the world's 22nd richest person, while Pony Ma took second place in China after one year at the top with CNY255 billion, falling nine places globally to 24th.
The Alibaba founder's net worth was boosted by CNY90 billion in new financing at his affiliate Ant Financial Services Group bringing the fintech unicorn's valuation to a dizzying CNY1 trillion (USD149 billion).
Amazon's Bezos added CNY215 billion (USD32.1 billion) to his wealth over the last year to retain the top spot for a second straight year, the Hurun Report revealed yesterday
Xu Jiayin, chairman of Chinese real estate developer Evergrande Group, ranked third in the country with CNY250 billion, falling five places globally to 26th. Retired Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing rounded off the top four with a personal wealth of CNY200 billion, jumping four places to 29th.
Another Hong Kong billionaire Lee Shau Kee came fifth with CNY180 billion, slipping seven places to 32nd overall. Property developer Yang Huiyan, chairwoman at Country Garden took the sixth spot in China and was the only female in the top 10.
The total wealth of entries on this year's list decreased USD950 billion to USD9.6 trillion while the number of billionaires on the ranking fell by 224 to 2,470. "Poor stock market performances and an appreciating dollar were the main reasons for this year's record drop in billionaires," said the report's Chief Researcher Rupert Hoogewerf. "Despite the strong dollar and its tax cuts, the USA added only 13 billionaires, but made it harder for the rest of the world to make the cut."
China leads the world for the fourth year in terms of total billionaires with 658, which is 74 more than in the US. However, China also led the way in terms of people who are no longer billionaires with 213 losing that status.
Some 430 billionaires disappeared from this year's list, of whom 40 passed away and 1,246 saw their assets fall in value. "A 23 percent drop in the Chinese stock markets coupled with a 6 percent drop in the Chinese Yuan's value were the main causes for the drop-offs in China," Hoogewerf added.
The technology sector remains the largest source of wealth, followed by real estate, investment, manufacturing and retail. Billionaires on the list from these fields make up half of the total.
Editor: William Clegg