Jack Ma rises to top of China rich list as tech tycoons
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[September 23, 2014] By
BEIJING (Reuters) - Jack
Ma, executive chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd <BABA.N>,
has become China's richest man with a fortune estimated
at $25 billion, underscoring the ascension of tech
tycoons over real estate peers in the world's second
Ma knocked Wang Jianlin, head of the Wanda property group, into
second place with $24.2 billion, according to this year's list of
China's super-rich published by Hurun Reports Inc.
Tech billionaires accounted for half of the top 10 names and
included Tencent Holdings Ltd <0700.HK> founder Pony Ma in fifth
place with a $18.1 billion fortune and Baidu Inc <BIDU.O> CEO Robin
Li in sixth position with $17.5 billion.
Making the top 10 for the first time were cellphone company Xiaomi
Inc [XTC.UL] co-founder Lei Jun and e-commerce entrepreneur Liu
Qiangdong who led JD.com <JD.O> to a New York listing this year - in
ninth and tenth position respectively.
While six real estate developers occupied the top 10 places in 2013,
just two made the cut this year, a reflection of a Chinese housing
market that has stalled for several quarters.
Although the vast majority of the roughly 1,100 people tracked by
Hurun saw their wealth grow, it's tense times for the Chinese elite
as President Xi Jinping's administration continues its far-reaching
corruption crackdown in both the public and private sectors.
According to Hurun, five members of its rich list are under
investigation, two have been imprisoned, two are awaiting
sentencing, one has been sentenced to death, while one - the
flamboyant Sichuan businessman Li Yan - has disappeared altogether.
Hurun said it counted a record 354 U.S. dollar billionaires in
mainland China, up 13 percent from last year and which compares with
just 65 billionaires in 2012.
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"The entrepreneurial spirit that has caught China seems not to be
abating, with eight self-made individuals born in the eighties
making the list," said British accountant Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun
Report chairman and chief researcher.
Hurun said its rankings were accurate as of mid-August. It was not
immediately clear what valuation it used for Alibaba. A
record-setting IPO this month catapulted Alibaba's valuation to well
over $200 billion. Ma owns 7.8 percent of Alibaba and also made
gains of some $850 million by selling shares in the offering.
Despite the size of Alibaba's IPO, only one other Alibaba
shareholder, Simon Xie, made Hurun's list, coming in at No. 177. Xie
is an Alibaba vice president and co-founder who holds significant
shares in the company alongside Ma.
(Reporting by Gerry Shih; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)
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