What does Hurun China Rich List 2022 tell us?
"Entrepreneurs must think about how to carry out family philanthropy, help society grow in a harmonious and orderly way, and make a positive contribution to common prosperity."
Ever since Rupert Hoogewerf started China's first rich list in 1999, the list ranking China's wealthiest entrepreneurs has been drawing a lot of attention. The rich list is more than a list of big names. Through the rise and fall of business magnates, readers get insights into the achievements and struggles of different industries. For instance, the wealthy list of 2022 demonstrated the resilience of China's traditional industries, as the "bottled water king" and the "pork king" grabbed the top ranks, surprising even for seasoned Hoogewerf. And stellar performance in the drinks industry sent two self-made Gen Z billionaires up to the list, showing how China's young entrepreneurs successfully captured consumers' hearts.
In an article titled "Zhong Shanshan keeps No. 1 spot on China’s rich list with a fortune of 455 billion yuan, more than that of Jack Ma Yun and Pony Ma Huateng combined" 2022胡润百富榜：钟睒睒4550亿蝉联首富，身家超马云、马化腾之和, China Newsweek, a weekly magazine based in Beijing, selects several highlights from Hurun report. The piece provided an insightful look at China's private sector during the last year.
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The Hurun Research Institute released the Hurun China Rich List 2022 on Nov. 8. This year, Zhong Shanshan 钟睒睒, founder and actual controller of bottled water company Nongfu Spring 农夫山泉, topped the list for the second time in a row with a fortune of 455 billion yuan (about 65 billion U.S. dollars). His personal wealth reached a record high in about 20 years. Qin Yinglin 秦英林, chairman of China's leading pork producer Muyuan Foodstuff 牧原食品, is ranked eighth as his family's fortune reached 185 billion yuan. Qin also surpassed Alibaba founder Jack Ma Yun who had a wealth of 180 billion yuan.
Zhong Shanshan 钟睒睒, founder and actual controller of bottled water company Nongfu Spring 农夫山泉, topped the list for the second time in a row with a fortune of 455 billion yuan (about 65 billion U.S. dollars).
Compared with 2021, the rich list changes saw quite a few changes. Whose wealth surged most? Whose wealth shrank fastest? How many gen-Zs made the list?
Who moved up into the top ten?
1,305 individuals (or families) with a minimum wealth of 5 billion yuan entered the Hurun China Rich List 2022, down 11 percent from last year. Their total wealth has shrunk 18 percent year on year to 24.5 trillion yuan. Entrepreneurs worth over 100 billion yuan have dropped to 34, 11 less from 2021.
"It is the fifth time that the number of people on the list has decreased, which is the biggest fall in 24 years," Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman and chief researcher of Hurun Report, told China Newsweek, adding that Covid-19, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and the a slowing global economy cast a shadow over China's economy in the short term. Moreover, declines in China's securities market also led to the fall in both the overall number and total wealth, according to Hoogewerf.
Still, the number of entrepreneurs worth over 5 billion yuan increased nearly 50 percent from five years ago, four times higher than a decade ago, and over 400 times that of two decades ago.
This year, one must possess at least 170 billion yuan to get into the top 10. The name list also underwent other changes.
Sixty-eight-year-old Zhong Shanshan, the founder of Nongfu Spring, is from east China's Zhejiang province. His personal wealth jumped 17 percent to 455 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 6.5 billion yuan, which is also a record in 20 years.
Following Zhong Shanshan, Zhang Yiming 张一鸣, Robin Zeng Yuqun 曾毓群, Li Ka-shing & family 李嘉诚家族, Pony Ma Huateng 马化腾, William Ding Lei 丁磊, He Xiangjian & family 何享健家族, Qin Yinglin & Qian Ying 秦英林、钱瑛夫妇 , Jack Ma Yun & family 马云家族, and Colin Huang Zheng 黄峥, took the seats from top two to top 10.
Thirty-nine-year-old Zhang Yiming, the founder of ByteDance, remained to be the second-richest man in China, despite that his personal wealth dropped 28 percent to 245 billion yuan, decreasing 95 billion yuan year on year. 54-year-old Zeng Yuqun, chairman of CATL, still held third place with a fortune of 230 billion yuan. But his wealth shrank 28 percent, down 90 billion from a year earlier. 51-year-old William Ding, the founder of NetEase, rose eight spots to the sixth as his personal wealth surged 14 percent to 195 billion yuan.
Qin Yinglin & Qian Ying is another new face that made the Top 10. Qing's family wealth grew nine percent to 185 billion yuan, moving them up seven spots to the eighth in the rankings.
"Traditional industries delivered an impressive performance this year, " said Hoogewerf. The richest man in China is the bottled water king Zhong Shanshan. His personal wealth is almost equal to that of Zhang Yiming adding that of Robin Zeng, a short video tycoon and the head of new energy titan CATL. The fortune of Li Ka-shing exceeded that of Pony Ma Huateng for the first time in the past five years. And it is overwhelming that with his pig breeding and distribution company, Qin Yinglin saw his wealth surpass that of Jack Ma Yun [cofounder of Alibaba and Ant Group] for the first time, according to Hoogewerf.
Whose wealth shrank most? Whose wealth grew fastest?
According to the list, Country Garden's 碧桂园 41-year-old Elizabeth Yang Huiyan 杨惠妍 saw her wealth down 110 billion yuan, the biggest drop on this year's list. Hui Ka Yan 许家印 of Evergrande 恒大, saw a decline of more than 40 billion yuan in his wealth. [Both Country Garden and Evergrande are Chinese real estate developers.]
In Hoogewerf's view, the real estate sector continued to dip this year, and the stock price of the sector fluctuated violently, therefore the wealth shrank accordingly.
Two decades ago, half of the people on the Hurun China Rich list came from the real estate industry. The ratio declined to 20 percent a decade ago, 15 percent five years ago, and further to 10 percent this year.
A total of 293 individuals dropped off the list this year, mostly from real estate, accounting for 14 percent, followed by 12 percent of healthcare. The city with the largest dropoffs was Shanghai, accounting for 15 percent, followed by Beijing, 11 percent.
Among the dropoffs, Mi Chunlei 密春雷, founder of Lanhai Holdings 览海控股, saw his company delist this year due to capital chain problem. As a result, Mi was off the list. Lu Zhiqiang 卢志强 of Oceanwide Holdings 泛海控股 was also off the list since most of the company's stocks got frozen for financial reasons. Due to defaults on debts, Tsinghua Unigroup 紫光集团 filed for bankruptcy and reorganized the debts. Jiankun Investment 健坤投资 thus withdrew from the shareholder list, and its founder Zhao Weiguo 赵伟国 was no longer on the list. Xiao Jianhua 肖建华 (his wealth reached 25 billion yuan last year) was sentenced to 13 years in prison for illegal absorption of public deposits, and his company Tomorrow Holdings 明天控股 was fined 55 billion yuan.
Judging from the proportion of decline in wealth, three founders of Southeast Asian e-commerce giant Sea Group 冬海集团 experienced the biggest fall. Among them, 44-year-old Forrest Li Xiaodong 李小冬 saw his wealth down 96 billion yuan, mainly as a result of continued losses in e-commerce business and slower growth in gaming business.
Moreover, the founders of US-listed Chinese companies, such as those of video sharing website Bilibili and digital freight platform Full Truck Alliance, also underwent a relatively huge loss in wealth.
"More than 400 entrepreneurs saw their wealth increase over the past year, mainly in traditional sectors of industrial products, F&B (food and beverage) and energy," said Hoogewerf.
Industrial Products have the largest number of entrants, making up 12.9 percent of the total names on the list, up 1.8 percent year on year. And the wealth effect of the steel sector and the energy sector is rather noticeable.
The fastest risers by percentage are from industries such as steel and solar energy. Sun Jimu's family 孙纪木家族, actual controller of Sinogiant Steel Holdings 新华联合冶金, came in first place with their wealth surging 505 percent this year. The company mainly operates in the steel industry.
However, in the new energy vehicle industry, Li Xiang 李想 of Li Auto 理想汽车, He Xiaopeng 何小鹏 of Xpeng 小鹏汽车, and William Li Bin 李斌 of Nio 蔚来, experienced different degree of drop in wealth. In contrast, Wang Chuanfu 王传福, founder of BYD, secured his wealth as he expanded in the overseas market this year.
Hoogewerf commented that the competition in the NEV market intensified as many NEV makers, including China's state-owned enterprises, joined the business this year.
How many entrepreneurs born after 1990 made the list?
There are 94 entrepreneurs under 40 who made the list, down 16 from last year. Among them, 36 were self-made entrepreneurs, down 7 year on year. With 245 billion yuan, 39-year-old Zhang Yiming was ranked the first among self-made entrepreneurs under 40 for the second time in a row. And two entrepreneurs under 40 joined the "ten million club." They are Zhang Yiming and 36-year-old Yan Hao 严昊, chairman of Pacific Construction 太平洋建设.
Seventeen entrepreneurs "born after 1990" made the list, three more than last year, of which 3 are self-made. With a fortune of 8.5 billion yuan, 31-year-old Neo Nie Yunchen 聂云宸, founder of Heytea 喜茶, topped the list of self-made entrepreneurs born after 1990. 29-year-old Lu Jianxia 陆剑霞, founder of Manner Coffee, and her husband saw their wealth double to seven billion yuan last year. Born in Beijing, 32-year-old Wang Shuo 王硕 made the list for the first time with her human resources company Deel based in the US.
"Entrepreneurs born after 1990 are good at serving young consumers, and two out of three self-made billionaires on the list come from the new consumption sector," said Hoogewerf, adding that one is Neo Nie Yunchen of Heytea, and the other is Lu Jianxia of Manner.
Overall, 95 entrants inherited their wealth, four more than last year.
By industry, they are mainly from the real estate sector and traditional manufacturing. By region, 31 come from Taiwan, and 26 from Hong Kong, making up 60 percent of inheritors on the list. Moreover, seven people are from Guangdong, six are from Shanghai, and five are from Zhejiang.
According to the list, there's an increasing number of inheritors on the list. Last year, six percent of entrants made the list through inheriting, and the ratio rose to seven percent this year, including Xu Haoyu 徐浩宇 of 扬子江药业 Yangtze River Pharmaceutical, and David Fong Man-hung's family 方文雄家族 of Hip Shing Hong 协成行.
"More than 51 trillion yuan will be passed down to the next generation in the next 20 years," said Hoogewerf, adding that entrepreneurs must think about how to carry out family philanthropy, help society grow in a harmonious and orderly way, and make a positive contribution to common prosperity when passing on their family fortune.