China has beaten the US for the first time in being home to highest number of dollar billionaires, despite a slowdown in it’s economy.
According to the Shanghai-based luxury magazine publisher Hurun Report, China now has 596 dollar billionaires against America’s 537.
The number rose sharply because of the 242 Chinese that joined the list last year. The report says “Despite the slowdown in the economy, China’s richest have defied gravity, recording their best year ever.”
Observers say the trend also represents the privatization of the Chinese economy, currently hovering around 7%, as a result of more market-oriented reforms.
IMF has forecast that China’s GDP growth will decline to 6.8% this year from last year’s 7.3% and to 6.3% in 2016.
The ruling Communist Party promises more market reforms to revitalize the export-oriented economy, dominated by state-owned enterprises, to the one that is led by domestic consumption.
The China billionaire list is lead by entertainment mogul Wang Jianlin, who founded the conglomerate Wanda and the e-commerce giant Alibaba’s Jack Ma as the country’s richest persons.
Ma stood second with his wealth of $22.7 billion.
China’s beverage tycoon Zong Qinghou of Wahaha retained third place with a little over $21 billion while Pony Ma, founder of internet giant Tencent which operates popular messaging app WeChat, took fourth place with just under $19 billion.
Lei Jun, who became a big success with his smartphone firm Xiaomi with aspirations to challenge Apple, jumped five places up to fifth by doubling his wealth to over $14 billion.