China Evergrande Real Estate chairman and CEO Xu Jiayin leads the ranks of the mainland’s wealthiest real estate people for the second year in a row with assets estimated at RMB 215 billion ($31 billion), according to the annual Hurun Report published last week.
The listing shows that among China’s wealthiest home, office and mall builders, Country Garden Holdings heiress Yang Huiyan ranked second and Wang Jianlin, CEO of Dalian Wanda Group placed third.
While the wealth of China’s 50 richest real estate people totalled the same RMB 1.5 trillion as last year, the list shows that six out of the 10 wealthiest real estate billionaires have seen their assets shrink in the past year. Sun Hongbin of Sunac China Holdings, the fourth largest real estate developer in the country, saw his wealth reduced by 37 percent.
Xu Jiayin Leads List of Real Estate Wealth
Evergrande’s Xu last year pushed aside Wanda’s Wang Jianlin to become the richest man in the country’s real estate industry and took first among property people again this year while ranking second overall among mainland citizens from all industries behind e-commerce magnate and Alibaba founder Jack Ma.
Xu’s fortune was helped along in the first half of 2018 by China Evergrande’s record-high profit increase of RMB 52 billion, with net profits after tax at the development giant jumping 125 percent year on year. Despite the growing corporate profits, however, the Guangdong billionaire still saw his wealth decline by 17 percent from RMB 259 billion in 2017 to RMB 215 billion this year as Evergrande’s stock price fell by as much as 36 percent in the past twelve months.
Yang Huiyan, daughter of Country Garden founder Yang Guoqiang and the largest shareholder of the country’s second largest developer by sales, also saw her wealth decline this year, slipping by seven percent compared to last year to a 2018 total of RMB 135 billion, according to Hurun’s estimates.
After reigning as China’s wealthiest property magnate from 2010 through 2018, Dalian Wanda CEO Wang Jianlin finished third this year with RMB 65 billion in assets — down 10 percent from 2017. Wang’s retreating riches were helped along by policy-driven panic sales of the majority of Wanda’s holdings after many of the developer’s projects, both domestic and international, proved unsustainable in the face of reduced government support.
Developers Suffer From Declining Share Prices
According to the Hurun Institute, the decline in wealth of China’s richest developers is mainly due to declining stock prices as policy restrictions and rising costs of borrowing cloud the future of developers.
The value of an index tracking the largest developers in China’s A-share market has dropped 32 percent in the past year according to SWS Research. “Under the overall background of the government’s regulation of the property market, the finances of developers have tightened, and the markets in third and fourth tier cities are cooling down. The market has lowered its expectations for developers, which has resulted in a general decline in stock prices,” the Hurun Institute noted in its statement.
Despite the decline in fortunes for many of the nation’s top developers, the combined assets of China’s 50 wealthiest property people are still up by 44 percent compared to 2016, according to Hurun’s estimates.
Sun Hongbin Loses 37% of Wealth After LeEco Investment
Among China’s suffering property people, Sunac China chairman Sun Hongbin saw the biggest decline in assets as the value of his holdings fell 37 percent over the last year from RMB 65 billion to RMB 41 billion.
Sun’s losses were led by his ill-fated RMB 15 billion investment in Jia Yueting’s failing Leshi media group. After first investing with Jia in early 2017, Sun now admits that 90 percent of that investment into the high tech firm is now lost.
Wang Xuewen, CEO of China Fortune Land Development Group, saw the second biggest wealth decline with his assets falling by 26 percent in 2018 to RMB 36 billion, from RMB 48 billion in 2017. The decline in Wang’s personal net worth came as of his developer, CFLD, fell by 54 percent from RMB 46 per share at the first of this year to RMB 21 per share at the end of September.