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China has billionaire boom { September 2007 }

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   http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5jeE_Rn8Uy64Lw5bWNNQ4Z-puD-9A

http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5jeE_Rn8Uy64Lw5bWNNQ4Z-puD-9A

China has 106 billionaires compared with only 15 last year
October 10, 2006

SHANGHAI (AFP) China now has 106 billionaires, seven times as many as last year, according to a list published Wednesday that underlined the rapidly growing economic muscle of the Asian giant.

Yang Huiyan, a 26-year-old female property developer, topped the list with a net worth, mostly inherited, of 130 billion yuan (17.3 billion dollars), according to the website of Hurun Report, a Shanghai-based magazine.

The figure was up from just 15 billionaires in the 2006 list, a surge attributed in the report to sizzling economic growth, and in particular a steep rise in stock and property prices.

"We all know that China is developing very rapidly. But the speed is so fast that it shocked all of us. It's much faster than the US and Europe," Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun Report's publisher, said in a statement.

The average wealth of the 800 people on Hurun's list is now 562 million dollars, an increase of 104 percent from 2006, and it takes 105 million dollars to make the list, the statement said.

This compared with the first list, nine years ago, which could only rank 50 people who each had six million dollars or more.

Among the people singled out by Hurun was 32-year-old Peng Xiaofeng, whose 5.3-billion-dollar fortune is based on LDK Solar, a manufacturer of solar panels. While not even on last year's list, he was now number six.

"These success stories are encouraging a large number of young Chinese to entrepreneurship," said Hoogewerf.

Hurun's list was released just two days after US magazine Forbes published its list of China's richest, which also put Yang in the lead.

Yang, a graduate of Ohio State University, is the daughter of Yeung Kwok Keung, the co-founder of Country Garden Holdings, a property development firm.

Yeung transferred his shareholdings to his daughter in 2005, and she now sits on the company's board as an executive director, Forbes said. The US magazine put her wealth at 16 billion dollars.

Ironically, both lists were issued just days before the opening of the Communist Party's five-yearly Congress, which is expected this year to focus much attention on the growing wealth and income gaps in China.

Hoogewerf, a trained accountant whose Chinese name is Hu Run, previously compiled the Forbes rich list.


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Copyright 2007 AFP. All rights reserved.


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