It isn’t often that Li Ka-shing is off the money, but the Hong Kong tycoon — nicknamed “superman” for his business acumen — has had to take a back seat in the latest Hurun Global Rich List of billionaires.
Li, who has his fingers in almost every corporate sector from property to telecommunications and other infrastructure, had a net worth of US$30 billion at the end of January, but this was only good enough for sixth spot on the annual ranking of Chinese tycoons.
It is no surprise that the top place went to Pony Ma Huateng, head of internet media giant Tencent Holdings, who had a net worth of US$47 billion. Ma is also the fifth-richest person on the planet. Tencent, which has a market value of more than US$500 billion, is now ranked alongside companies like Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft and Amazon.
Next comes Hui Ka-yan (aka Xu Jiayan), founder and chairman of Guangdong property developer China Evergrande and the 20th-richest person in the global list, with a total wealth of $41 billion.
Lee Shau-kee, the chairman of Henderson Land, is third on the Chinese list with $34 billion and 25th overall. The mercurial Jack Ma, chairman of the Alibaba Group, and Yeung Wai-yin (aka Yang Huiyan) of Country Garden share fifth spot among the Chinese and 26th place in the world rankings; both have a worth of $32 billion.
Lis wealth probably slipped because of a timing issue: the rankings were compiled when Hong Kong stocks were in a trough, with the Hang Seng Chinese Enterprise index falling nearly 9%. This was the worst performance of any major global index in January.
Meanwhile, Chinese have dominated the Hurun segment for debutants on the billionaires list. Among the new kids on the block are brothers He Xiangjian and He Jianfeng of white goods firm Midea Group, who reached 34th spot with a personal wealth of $29 billion.
Zhang Zhidong of Tencent is ranked 59th with $19 billion, and car tycoon Li Shufu of Geely is 73th with $17 billion. Xiaomi founder and chairman Lei Jun and Suning boss Zhang Jindong both have net a worth of $16 billion, giving them a global ranking of 80th.