The Forbes China Rich List 2018 edition is here and e-commerce giant Alibaba's Jack Ma is back on the top of the list with a net worth of US$34.6 Bn, down by US$4 Bn, compared to a year ago. He replaces real estate firm China Evergrande's Hui Ka Yan, whose net worth of US$30.8 Bn went down 28 per cent from last year. While Hui Ka Yan is now on the 3rd spot, Ma Huateng of Internet firm Tencent, held on to the No 2 spot with a net worth of US$32.8 Bn, after a US$6.2 Bn drop.
As per the latest edition, more than three-quarters of the ultra-rich on last year's list have witnessed a decline in their net worth. As per Forbes, 229 are now poorer than they were a year ago. Nearly a third saw declines of 20 per cent or more in their wealth. Further, over 400 of the tycoons on last year's list that were worth more than US$1 Bn (S$1.38 Bn) have now dropped to US$840 million this year, with just 344 of the 400 listees enjoying a fortune greater than US$1 billion.
"The world has come to associate China with wealth creation, and it is startling to see the extent of wealth destruction this year," said Russell Flannery, the editor-in-chief of Forbes China.
The wealth destruction mentioned by Russell Flannery can be attributed to the Dropping stocks, credit and trade worries, and a falling yuan.
He said, “"China's economy is more globalised than ever, and changes in the international landscape and business expectations had a big impact on the list."
While many tumbled ranks or moved out of the list, there are some who made way to be on it. There were 12 tech newcomers in the Forbes China Rich List 2018, including e-commerce site Pinduoduo's Colin Huang (No 12, US$11.25 Bn) and Sichuan hotpot chain Haidilao's co-founders Zhang Yong (No 18, US$7.7 Bn) and Shi Yonghong (No 66, US$3.65 Bn). While Pinduoduo went public on the NASDAQ over the summer, Haidilao was listed in Hong Kong in September.
From industry perspective, while there were drops in wealth across all industries this year, the manufacturing sector was the hardest hit, with the number of listees involved in the sector dropping to 72 from 79 and their average net worth sliding to US$1.8 billion from US$2.1 billion a year ago.