Meet China’s 25 richest billionaires

As we welcome in the Chinese New Year…

In the last 10 or 15 years, China has emerged as a huge player in almost all areas of global business.

Traditionally famous for its massive manufacturing sector, China is now home to some of the world’s top tech brains, which becomes obvious looking down the list of the country’s richest citizens.

Take a look at the richest people in China, according to Forbes – some have made their fortunes in unusual ways.

1. Wang Jianlin, wealth: $14.1

Source: real estate

Wang Jianlin

Wang Jianlin became China’s richest person last year, after a rebound in property prices in China. Real estate magnate Wang also ventured into the entertainment industry. His company, Wanda Group, owns AMC, a huge US cinema chain, in addition to 71 Wanda shopping plazas and 40 five-star hotels.

2. Zong Qinghou, wealth:  $11.2bn

Source: beverages

Zong Qinghou heads up drinks giant Wahaha. Previously China’s richest billionaire, Zong fell back due to slow earnings growth. Interesting fact about Zong: he was attacked with a knife last year by a man who had been declined a job, and sustained injuries to tendons in two fingers.

3. Robin Li, wealth: $11.1bn

Source: internet search

Robin Li

Robin Li is the CEO of China’s top search engine, Baidu, known as “China’s Google”. Having studied in the US, Li went on to work in Silicon Valley before founding Baidu. The company made it to number 6 of the Forbes innovative companies in 2012, ahead of Amazon, Starbucks and Monsanto.

4. Li Hejun, wealth: $10.9bn

Source: renewable energy

The owner of a hydropower, wind power, and solar energy power generation company, Li Hejun is the biggest name in thin-film solar panels and equipment.

Last year, Li predicted more than half of the world’s energy would come from renewable sources by 2035, and he’s looking to continue to invest – particular in solar, he’s said.

5. Ma Huateng, wealth: $10.2bn

Source: internet

With a fortune of just $6.4bn a year ago, Ma Huateng, known as “Pony”, is the founder and CEO of Tencent Holdings – an online gaming and search company which is one of the largest Chinese internet companies. In 2007, Time magazine called him one of the world’s most influential people.

6. Wei Jianjun & family, wealth: $9bn

Source: automobiles

Wei Jianjun chairs one of the largest non-government-owned car companies, Great Wall Motor. He agreed a contract with the government to run the debt-ridden company at the age of 26 and built it up to go public in Hong Kong in 2003 and Shanghai in 2010.

7. Yang Huiyan, wealth: $7.2bn

Source: real estate

Yang Huiyan is the richest woman in China and vice chairman of real estate company Country Garden. She’s the second daughter of farmer-turned-developer Yang Guoqiang with plans to take over the company from a young age. In 2008, she lost two thirds of her fortune when markets crashed.

8. Jack Ma, wealth: $7.1bn

Source: internet

Jack Ma

Creator of the Alibaba Group, Ma stepped down as CEO in May to pave the way for younger staff. He started the company 10 years ago, and its sales now make up 2% of China’s GDP – exceeding those of eBay and Amazon combined. Roughly 80% of Chinese ecommerce transactions are conducted through Alibaba’s sites.

9. He Xiangjian, wealth: $6.8bn

Source: appliances

He Xiangjian founded home appliance manufacturer Midea Group. Starting with only a small workshop for the production of bottle lids in 1968, He now employs 135,000 people at Midea and stepped down as chairman in 2012.

10. Liu Yongxing, wealth: $6.1bn

Source: agribusiness

Former factory worker Liu Yongxing and his three brothers managed to turn a quail hatchery into one of China’s biggest companies. However, aluminum- and plastics-focused East Hope Group, owned by Liu, has had a difficult year.

11. Chan Laiwa & family, wealth: $6bn

Source: real estate

Chan Laiwa

12. Hui Wing Mau, wealth: $5.5bn

Source: real estate

13. Hui Ka Yan, wealth: $5.4bn

Source: real estate

14. Liang Wengen, wealth: $5bn

Source: manufacturing

15. Jiang Bin, wealth: $4.8bn

Source: electronics

16. Zhang Jindong, wealth: $4.4bn

Source:  retail

17. Gong Hongjia & family, wealth: $4.9bn

Source: investments

18. Wang Wenyin, wealth: $4.25bn

Source: metals

19. William Ding, wealth: $4.2bn

Source: online games

20. Wu Yajun & family, wealth: $4.1bn

Source: real estate

21. Fu Liquan & family, wealth: $4bn

Source: electronics

22. Wang Wei, wealth: $3.9bn

Source: delivery service

23. Lei Jun, wealth: $3.85bn

Source: smartphones

24. Zhang Xin & family, wealth: $3.8bn

Source: real estate

25. Zhang Zhidong, wealth: $3.75

Source: internet

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