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Self-made billionaires: China’s 10 richest billionaires
Published on: 2018-03-05
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Today, China is home to 10% of the world's almost 2,400 billionaires, but perhaps more notably, a massive 94% of them are self-made.
 

Growth in China's technology, consumer retail and real estate sectors over the past five to 10 years have made it easier for entrepreneurs to build their fortune, marking a massive surge in the country's self-made billionaire population.
 

Just 2% of China's 249 billionaires are the product of inheritance, according to the report. Meanwhile, 4% have reached the 10-figure milestone through a combination of entrepreneurship and inheritance. The rest have earned it through grit and hard work.
 

The figure stands in stark contrast to the global average. Overall, just 55% of the world's billionaires are self-made, according to the intelligence agency's figures. Thirteen percent of the world's billionaires have gained their wealth through inheritance, while 32% have built it through a combination of inheritance and entrepreneurship.
 

What's more, China's billionaires are relatively younger than the global mean, with one-third aged under 50, compared to 14% globally. The average billionaire in China is 53-years-old while the average billionaire globally is aged 64.
 

China's billionaires include those responsible for some of the world's biggest companies. Here's a look at the top 10 wealthiest:
 

China's top 10 billionaires


10. Yan Jiehe

030Net worth: $14.1 billion

Founder, China Pacific Construction Group
 

Born the youngest of nine children, Yan's earliest memory is of going hungry. Like his parents, he began his career as a schoolteacher, before moving into the construction industry and launching China Pacific Construction Group in 1995.


9. Zhang Zhidong

031Net worth: $15 billion

Co-founder, Tencent Holdings
 

Also known as Tony Zhang, Zhang was born in 1971 and met fellow Tencent co-founder Pony Ma while studying at Shenzen University. The duo, alongside three other co-founders, set up the internet company in 1998.
 

8. Lei Jun

032Net worth: $15.1 billion

Chairman, Xiaomi
 

Born in 1969, Lei studied computer science at Wuhan University and worked as an engineer before taking on senior positions in several technology companies. Then, in 2010, he co-founded smartphone manufacturer and software company Xiaomi.
 

7. Li Hejun

033Net worth: $15.5 billion

Chairman, Hanergy Holding Group
 

A mechanical engineering graduate, Li founded Hanergy in 1991 with 50,000 Yuan borrowed from his college teacher, according to the company's website. Today, Hanergy is a world-leading renewable energy company.
 

6. Ding Lei

034Net worth: $17.2 billion

CEO, NetEase
 

Ding is the founder of Chinese internet technology company NetEase, which provides online content, communications and commerce services. He launched the business in 1997 after studying electronic science and technology and working for a short time as an engineer.
 

5. Wang Jianlin

035Net worth: $18.1 billion

Chairman, Dalian Wanda Group
 

Born in 1954, Wang served for sixteen years in China's People's Liberation Army before founding Dalian Wanda Group in 1988. Today, it is China's largest real estate development company.
 

4. Yang Huiyan

036Net worth: $20.7 billion

Vice Chairman, Country Garden Holdings
 

Chinese property developer Yang is the majority shareholder of Country Garden Holdings, a property development company set up by her father, Guoqiang Yang in 1992. She was named the richest woman in Asia in a 2015 Wealth-X report.
 

3. Hui Ka Yan

037Net worth: $27.5 billion

Chairman, Evergrande Real Estate Group
 

Hui Ka Yan, also known as Xu Jiayin, was born in a rural village in Henan province in 1958. After graduating from college, he worked as a technician in a steel factory for a decade before becoming chairman of Chinese real estate developer Evergrande Group.
 

2. Jack Ma

038Net worth: $40.2 billion

Executive Chairman, Alibaba Group
 

Jack Ma was born in 1964 in Hangzhou, Zheijang province. He began his career as a teacher and famously suffered dozens of job rejections before launching Alibaba Group. Today, the company is the world's largest retailer and one of the largest technology companies globally.
 

1. Huateng Ma

039Net worth: $41.8 billion

Chairman, Tencent Holdings
 

The son of a port manager, Ma studied computer science at Shenzen University before starting his career in telecommunications. Known as Pony Ma, he launched Tencent alongside four college classmates in 1998, and now serves as its chairman and CEO.
 

Tencent is one of the largest internet companies in the world and counts social networks, e-commerce, payment systems and games among its services.

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