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The 40 richest people of China

By Russell Flannery, Forbes
November 09, 2005 14:11 IST
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China's wealthiest got much richer in the past year, thanks to the nation's booming economy.

The 40 richest businesspeople are now worth a collective $26 billion, up from $18 billion a year ago.

China is now home to ten billionaires and their families, up from three last year. A net worth of $321 million was required to make the top 40, up from $231 million last year.

Slideshow: China's Richest 10

The nation's richest man is once again Larry Rong Zhijian, who runs one of China's most successful conglomerates, Citic Pacific.

The top 10




Net worth



Larry Rong Zhijian

63 yrs

$1.64 billion

CITIC Pacific Group


Zhu Mengyi

46 yrs

$1.43 billion

Hopson Development, Guangdong Zhujiang Invest


William Ding Lei

34 yrs

$1.27 billion


Wong Kwong Yu

36 yrs

1.25 billion

Gome Appliances


Liu Yongxing

57 yrs

1.16 billion

East Hope Group


Liu Yonghao

54 yrs

1.12 billion

New Hope Group


Guo Guangchang

38 yrs

1.09 billion

Fosun High-Tech Group


Xu Ming

34 yrs

1.05 billion

Shide Group


Xu Rongmao

55 yrs

1.00 billion

Shimao Group


Chen Tianqiao

32 yrs

1.00 billion

Shanda Interactive Entertainment

Those who make their money in real estate did particularly well. Moving up eight slots to number two is property baron Zhu Mengyi and family, whose holdings are in Guangdong Province and whose Hong Kong-listed Hopson Development recently attracted international investors such as the US' Tiger Fund.

Industry Spotlights:
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Forbes Asia estimates his family's fortune at $1.43 billion, up $1 billion from last year. Another big gainer was number 11, Zhang Li, who was ranked 92 in Forbes Asia's survey last year. His R&F Properties, which builds everything from five-star hotels in Guangzhou and middle-class apartments in Beijing, listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in July.

The kidnapping of David Ji

One low-profile member of our list is number 13, Wu Guodi, the head of Alison Group, which makes industrial products like steel pipes and also trades oil.

Chen Lihua, the richest woman among the top 40, owns buildings in some of Beijing's priciest locations. Among this year's most notable Internet entrepreneurs are Robin Li, cofounder of newly public Chinese search engine Baidu, and Jack Ma, whose Web site,, attracted a $1 billion investment from Yahoo earlier this year.

China's war chest

The youngest on our list is Li Zhaohui, 24, who became the leader of one of China's largest private steelmakers, Shanxi Haixin Group, after his father was murdered.

China's top 40 saw much turnover: 17 of this grouping from last year didn't make the top tier this year. Unlike Forbes' billionaires list, our ranking has been broadened to include family fortunes, like that of Chen Tianqiao.
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Russell Flannery, Forbes

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