Paradoxically, at the beginning of this year 2021 marked by the centenary of the Communist Party, the official press welcomed the record number of billionaires that China had generated: 992 (910 in mainland China and 82 in Hong Kong), according to the calculations of the Hurun organization located in Shanghai, which, on March 2, published the ranking of the world’s leading fortunes. This is 250 more than in 2020 and much more than the following two countries combined: the United States (696) and India (177).
If Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, a former English teacher, is the most famous, he is not the richest. With a fortune estimated at 56 billion dollars (47.5 billion euros), he would be overtaken by Zhong Shanshan, the founder of Nongfu Spring, the king of mineral water in China (85 billion dollars, almost as much than the American Warren Buffet), but also by Pony Ma, boss of Tencent (74 billion), and Huang Zheng, founder of Pinduoduo (69 billion), two other tech giants.
Takeover by the authorities
For the first time since the existence of this ranking, no real estate king is no longer in the Top 10 of the richest Chinese, now dominated by technology stocks. The Covid-19 epidemic and the resulting lockdown have made many people happy. The fortune of Wang Xing, the founder of Meituan, king of home delivery, quadrupled to $ 34 billion. Meituan also generates fourteen billionaires, more than any other company in the world, according to Hurun.
At other times, the authorities would have welcomed these successes, but the end of 2020 will have, on the contrary, marked the start of a takeover of these economic jewels by the authorities. E-commerce giants are now accused of abuse of dominance, home delivery companies of exploiting tens of millions of delivery people and private education companies of increasing social inequalities and substituting themselves to public education. So many announcing criticisms of the campaign in favor of “common prosperity” that Xi Jinping has just launched.