Xu Jiayin, chairman of Evergrande Group, had a net worth of over US$30 billion last year, but his companies now have debts exceeding $121 bn that are weighing down stocks and the yuan. Photo: AFP.

Xu Jiayin, chairman of Evergrande Group, has topped a global real estate rich list released by Hurun Research, with a net worth of US$37 billion.

Evergrande last year sold US$85 billion in homes, totalling 52 million square meters. Huron Research also marked Evergrande the most valuable brand when it comes to Chinese private developers.

Led by Hong Kong, seven Chinese cities made the top 10 on the Hurun Global Real Estate Rich List 2019. Hong Kong property tycoon Li Ka-shing came in second with US$29 billion net worth. Henderson Development’s Lee Shau Kee ranked third with US$27 billion.

Yang Huiyan of Foshan-based Country Garden came in fourth with US$23 billion. Yang is the only woman in the top 10.

Hurun Research has found 239 real estate billionaires globally, as China leads world in real estate billionaires with 58%, followed by the US with 11% and the UK 7%.

The urbanization mega trend in China has driven the biggest wealth explosion in the history of world, with the result that most of the world’s largest real estate developers today come from China, the research said.

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