A low-profile tycoon has rocketed up the ranks of China’s wealthy after a hostile takeover he launched for the nation’s biggest property developer helped swell his fortunes, a report said yesterday.
Yao Zhenhua’s (姚振華) wealth surged ninefold to US$17.2 billion, making him China’s fourth-richest person on the Hurun Report’s annual ranking. Last year he was estimated to be worth just under US$2 billion, putting him at No. 231.
There was little change at the top of Hurun’s list.
Property and entertainment mogul Wang Jianlin (王健林) held on to top spot, with Hurun putting his wealth at US$32.1 billion.
Alibaba founder and chairman Jack Ma (馬雲) stayed at second place even as his wealth swelled 41 percent to US$30.6 billion thanks to the e-commerce giant’s rising share price this year.
Ma Huateng (馬化騰) of Tencent Ltd, which runs the popular WeChat social media service, moved up one spot to third, with a fortune estimated at US$24.6 billion.
Hurun chairman Rupert Hoogewerf said Yao’s rise illustrated shifts in China’s maturing economy.
“Yao’s financial investment model represents the new wave of wealth creation in China,” Hoogewerf said. “The first money made in China 20 years ago came from trading, followed by manufacturing, real estate, IT, and today it is about using the capital markets for financial investments.”
Yao, 46, is chairman of Baoneng Group, a real-estate and financial services group based in the southern boomtown of Shenzhen. His privately owned company has made waves over the past year by amassing 25 percent of China Vanke’s shares, leading to a bitter and prolonged takeover battle for the homebuilder, which is based in the same city. Yao’s wealth soared as speculation about Baoneng’s bid sent Vanke’s mainland China-listed shares surging.
Shanghai-based Hurun publishes a monthly magazine and releases yearly rankings and research about the world’s richest people and their spending habits.
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