China has a new entry on the list of the world’s youngest billionaires as the twenty-something daughter of Longfor Properties founder Wu Yajun just saw her personal net-worth jump by HK$56 billion ($7.17 billion).
Cai Xinyi, daughter of Wu Yajun and her ex-husband and Longfor co-founder Cai Kui came upon her new fortune the old-fashioned way, through a trust set up for her by her mom, who transferred the entirety of her 43.9 percent stake in the China’s eighth-ranked developer by sales in 2017 into the trust according to an announcement by Longfor to the Hong Kong stock exchange.
The wealth transfer instantly catapults the reclusive Cai Xinyi, who is estimated to have been born in 1993, into the ranks of China’s wealthiest people. The share transfer alone will put the younger Cai’s wealth at a level just below Shimao Properties chairman Hui Wingmao, who placed 22nd on Forbes’ most recent China Rich List with a fortune said to be worth $7.2 billion.
China Real Estate Market Makes Women Rich
While Cai Xinyi’s exact age remains unclear, the share transfer makes her the only person under 30 among China’s 25 richest people, and ranks her as China’s second-richest woman, according to the latest list of mainland billionaires compiled by Forbes.
Like China’s two other richest women, 37-year-old Yang Huiyan — whose fortune is estimated at $17.1 billion according to Forbes, and 77-year-old Chen Lihua — who is said to be worth $5.8 billion, Cai owes her wealth to the country’s booming real estate market, with Yang having received her wealth through her father’s control of top developer Country Garden Holdings and Chen having founded Beijing developer Fuwah International Group.
Three of China’s six richest people this year, according to Forbes, owe their wealth to real estate, with Evergrande boss Xu Jiayin ranking third on the country’s billionaire list with a fortune of $30.8 billion, while Dalian Wanda chairman Wang Jianlin placed fourth on the list with an estimated $22.7 billion in assets and Yang Huiyan was listed in sixth place.
Mainland Developers Trust Fortunes to their Children
According to Longfor’s announcement to the Hong Kong Exchange, the company on Wednesday received notification that Wu Yajun had successfully transferred all of the 2,609,148,201 shares she holds in the developer to a trust set up for her daughter by HSBC. The shares were priced at HK$21.6 per share on Friday and represent a controlling 43.98 percent stake in the developer.
The share transfer follows a similar move by Country Garden founder Yang Guoqiang, who transferred his controlling stake in the Guangdong-based developer to Yang Huiyan in 2005, saying at the time that the transfer was “due to his intention to train Yang Huiyan as the successor of his family’s interest.”
Yang Huiyan carries the title of vice chairwoman of Country Garden and is said to be actively involved in the developer’s operations. Cai Xinyi is not known to have executive duties or a title with Longfor. According to the announcement, Wu will continue to serve as the developer’s leading executive, as well as keeping her voting rights on Longfor’s board of directors.
According to a 2012 interview with Wu, Cai Xinyi chose biotechnology as her major field of study in university, however, her current employment and marital status were not mentioned in the company’s announcement.
In late 2013, Logan Properties founder Kei Hoi Pang made his daughter, Perenna Kei, the world’s youngest billionaire by transferring his stake in the Shenzhen-based developer to a trust in the name of the then 24-year-old just prior to the company’s IPO.
Longfor Family Keeps Investing in Real Estate
According to local media reports, while Cai Xinyi is the only daughter of Wu Yajun and Cai Kui, she is not the only child of 54-year-old Wu, who gave birth to fraternal twins in the US after she divorced Cai Kui in 2012.
Although Cai Kui had left his executive role with Longfor just before it listed in Hong Kong in 2009, he was able to retain a 30.2 percent stake in the company when the couple divorced.
Cai, who now heads private equity real estate firm Junson Capital, in March of this year used at least part of that fortune to buy a HK$1.39 billion house on Hong Kong’s Victoria Peak. Cai was revealed through Lands Department records to have paid the equivalent of HK$151,785 per square foot for the stand-alone home in the elite Mount Nicholson project.