Wang Jianlin reclaims the top spot he had in 2013. After building properties for decades without any listed businesses, Wang’s Wanda brand had two big IPOs: his commercial real estate flagship and one of China’s largest movie theater chains.
Easing GDP growth, a burst stock bubble and a huge state debt overhang might not sound like a prescription for a wealth boom. Yet it’s been another banner year for the richest in China, the world’s fastest-growing source of new billionaires for the past decade. Total holdings of the top 100 members of the new FORBES China Rich List increased by a fifth to $450 billion from $376 billion a year ago. But there’s upheaval in the ranks: Our latest compilation includes 15 first-time members along with 12 returnees, meaning a quarter of last year’s group didn’t make the cut this time.
Internet stocks have cooled pending better earnings. Last year’s No. 1,Alibaba Group Chairman Jack Ma, slipped a notch after investors’ early IPO ardor faded. Last year’s No. 2, Baidu's Robin Li, drops to No. 6 this year on profit worries. But still-galloping Tencent’s Ma Huateng solidified his No. 3 spot with a $3.2 billion boost.
A bit further down were rising tech stars—No. 17 Jia Yueting, up $4.15 billion with his Leshi Web and video fare. Zhou Qunfei, whose Lens Technology supplies touchscreens to Apple, is suddenly No. 18 at $5.9 billion. Frank Wang of dronemaker DJI debuts at No. 38 with an estimated $3.6 billion.