|Wanda chief Wang Jianlin doubles wealth to top the pile among 358 Chinese billionaires
Dalian Wanda Group Chairman Wang Jianlin (Pictured) ranked the wealthiest in China after he doubled his assets to US$25 billion last year. He took the top spot among 358 other US dollar billionaires in the country, a survey found.
Wang’s became wealthier as Asia experienced a billionaire boom last year. During the period, more than 200 people from the continent accumulated wealth that passed into 10 figures, the Hurun Report said in its global rich list, AFP reports.
A total of 824 Asians were included among the 1,867 named as US dollar billionaires on the list.
That was an increase of 216 on the previous year, accounting for just over half the overall rise of 414.
Among individual countries, the United States led with 481 billionaires, the most in the world, followed by China's 358, it added.
At the top of the global table, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates overtook Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim as the world's richest person.
The richest person in mainland China, property magnate Wang, shot up to 26th spot on the global list. His net worth doubled over the past year to US$25 billion. He ranked 72nd last year, according to the report.
Hurun Report chairman Rupert Hoogewerf said 90 Chinese billionaires held “senior political advisory positions,’’ including 31 delegates to the National People's Congress, and three representatives to the last Communist Party Congress.
But inclusion on a Hurun rich list can be a mixed blessing for wealthy Chinese, intensifying public and government scrutiny of them and their companies.
Some have subsequently been investigated or imprisoned, among them Huang Guangyu, named China's highest net worth individual three times, most recently in 2008.
Huang was jailed for 14 years in 2010 for illegal business operations, insider trading and corporate bribery.
The world's dollar billionaires amassed wealth of US$6.9 trillion, more than Japan's entire GDP, the report said.
Gates replaced Slim, chairman of mobile phone carrier America Movil, as the wealthiest individual. His net worth grew by 26 percent to US$68 billion as of January 17, it said.
American investor Warren Buffett and Amancio Ortega, founder of Spanish textile giant Inditex, which owns global fashion brand Zara, ranked second and third on the Hurun Global Rich List 2014, with assets of US$64 billion and US$62 billion respectively, it showed.
Slim and his family took fourth spot, after their wealth fell 9 percent year-on-year to US$60 billion due to currency and share price movements, the report said.