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By Jackie Cai and Adam Jourdan
SHANGHAI Oct 13 Chinese property magnate Wang
Jianlin has defended his crown as the country's richest man,
according to the annual Hurun rich list, fending off Alibaba
Group Holding Ltd founder Jack Ma and new players on
the block like Baoneng's Yao Zhenhua.
Wang, the chairman of Dalian Wanda Group, took the top spot
with a personal fortune of $32.1 billion, the report said,
despite Ma, the founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba, seeing his
wealth surge 41 percent from 2015.
The annual rich list of China's movers and shakers gives a
temperature check on where money is flowing in China, and
underlines the growing financial muscle of the country's
super-rich - a trend that has been fuelling a boom in global
Yao Zhenhua, the chairman of Baoneng Group and the biggest
riser since 2015, saw his wealth shoot up 820 percent to $17.2
billion, elevating him to fourth in the overall list. Yao has
been at the centre of a hostile takeover battle for China's
largest real estate developer China Vanke Co Ltd.
Hurun founder Rupert Hoogewerf said Yao represented a new
wave of wealthy Chinese, those whose money came from playing the
financial markets as opposed to more traditional routes like
trade or manufacturing.
"There's a new type of wealth creation coming out," he told
Reuters, adding China was having to adapt as the wider economy
was "very materially slowing down".
"Today it is about using the capital markets for financial
investment," he said.
Baoneng, a financial conglomerate that had been a relative
unknown, rose to prominence over the last year by becoming the
largest shareholder in Vanke, though drew criticism from Vanke's
own chairman over where it was getting its funds.
The report said there were now 594 dollar billionaires in
China, putting China ahead of the United States' 535. However,
none of China's super-rich make it into the global top 20.
Other risers included online gaming tycoon Ding Lei of
Netease, appliance maker Midea Group's He Xiangjian
and property magnate Xu Jiayin of Evergrande. However,
smartphone maker Xiaomi saw founder Lei Jun fall out of
the top 10 as competition in China's smartphone market rose.
(Reporting by Jackie Cai and Adam Jourdan; Editing by Stephen