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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

China's Billionaires Lose a Third of Wealth in Credit Crisis

Plunging property and share prices knocked a third off the average wealth of China's billionaires in the first fall for seven years.

China's billionaires lose a third of wealth in credit crisis
Yvonne Xue, 44, board chairman general manager of Shanghai Si Tong Cable Industry and vice board chairman of Shanghai Huiyang Industry Company Photo: LAUREN GREENFIELD

The 50 richest people in China were worth $2.43 billion (£1.4 billion) on average, down from $3.63 billion in 2007, according to an annual list from Hurun.

Back in first place, with a personal fortune of USD6.3 billion, was 39-year-old Huang Guangyu, nicknamed the Price Butcher because of the discounts available at Gome, his electrical retail empire. Mr Huang has topped the list three times in the last five years.

His elevation knocked Yang Huiyan, the 27-year-old heiress who was given a controlling stake in Country Garden, an enormous property developer, into third place.

Miss Yang saw her personal wealth plummet from $17.5billion to $4.9 billion as the share price of Country Garden nose-dived and jitters derailed the Chinese property boom.

Zhang Yin, the chairwoman of Nine Dragons Paper, who was the first woman to top the rich list in 2006, lost $8.4 billion after shares of her scrap paper company dropped by 86 per cent.

Two more property tycoons also suffered badly. Xu Rongmao, chairman of Shimao, lost $4.4 billion and Zhang Li, co-chairman of Guangzhou R&F properties, lost $3.6 billion.

China was home to 101 people with $1 billion or more of personal wealth, declining from 106 last year, according to Hurun.

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Joshua Berry (tattoogeek)

you see what happens?

"I, like the arch-fiend, bore a hell within me, and finding myself unsympathized with, wished to tear up the trees, spread havoc and destruction around me, and then to have sat down and enjoyed the ruin." --Mary Shelley, from Frankenstein