While China’s real estate downturn has yet to create the kind of distress seen in the US in 2008, it still is taking a toll on the fortunes of the country’s commercial kings and queens, according to Fortune magazine.
In the “China’s Richest 3000” list published by the mainland edition of the US journal, the number of real estate tycoons landing in the top 100 households by total asset holdings dropped from 24 in 2013 to only 12 this year. Only two of the ten richest families were said to be earning their wealth from the property market in 2014, compared to three last year.
And in a sign that the country is becoming less focused on real estate for making money, among the 3000 richest families, last year there were 12 households with property assets of RMB 10 billion or greater, but only nine appeared on the 2014 list.
Xu Jiayin, the Chairman of Guangzhou-based Evergrande Real Estate fell out of the top 10 this year, after three consecutive years in the elite group. Xu saw his wealth shrink from RMB 25.81 last year to RMB 23.80 in 2014. In fact, Xu’s comparative rank on the Fortune list closely parallels the increasing challenges facing China’s real estate market in recent years, with the famous football club owner having ranked third in 2011, fifth in 2012, seventh in 2013, and only twelfth this year.
On top of the list were three Internet billionaires, Tencent’s Pony Ma, whose family fortune was estimated at RMB 100.7 billion; Baidu’s Robin Li, whose family came in second with assets of RMB 85.3 billion; and the family of Liu Qiangdong, founder of ecommerce site JD.com, who came in third with assets of RMB 48.4 billion.
The Fortune “China’s Richest 3000” list estimates the wealth of the country’s richest families by survey the asset holdings domestic A shares, Hong Kong stocks and other overseas financial holdings of China’s billionaires.
Because of the way the rankings are compiled, some Chinese billionaires whose holdings are largely unlisted, such as Alibaba’s Jack Ma and Dalian Wanda’s Wang Jianlin failed to appear on the list.