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article imageChina's rich get even richer

By Kevin Jess     Oct 14, 2009 in World
The number of super-rich Chinese exploded this past year despite the global financial crisis, giving China the second largest number of billionaires in the world, measured in US dollars.
The number of Chinese billionaires rose from 101 to 130 over the past year, making it second only to the U.S. which claims 359 billionaires, reports China Daily.
According to the Hurun Rich List, which ranks the top 1,000 wealthiest people in China, the average wealth of those listed rose to $571 million, a 30 per cent increase in just the last 12 months, said the China Daily report.
In an interview with Reuters, the list's compiler Rupert Hoogewerf said, "With the greatest wealth destruction in the west of the last 70 years, we've seen China buck the trend and the wealth seems to be still growing."
Analysis of the report shows that most of the wealth created was due to urbanization, with approximately 23 per cent of those listed making their fortune in real estate, says Hoogewerf.
The report, which began it's rankings in 1999, shows 7 new names in the top 10, the largest number in it's ten year history.
The list also recognizes American businessman, Warren Buffett, whose investment in the Chinese electric car and battery maker BYD Co. has seen the share price of the company increase five-fold, says China Daily. The increase saw the chairman of the company, Wang Chuanfu, move up 102 places on the list to the number 1 position with assets estimated to be around $5.1 billion.
Hoogeworf said that the number of billionaires in China could be much higher but not enough was known about their wealth to place them on the list.
He said to China Daily, "Either they are super-discreet, or perhaps they haven't come to the surface. Having said that, the transparency of wealth, is now very much in the open. There's many more listed companies."
It is estimated that one third of the individuals listed are members on the Communist Party of China, says the Hurun report.
Probably one of the most famous names in China, NBA basketball player Yao Ming, fell off the 2009 list.
The 2009 Hurun Wealth Report also says "China has 825,000 individuals with a personal wealth of more than 10 million yuan and 51,000 individuals with more than 100 million yuan," reports China Daily.
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