Wang Chuanfu [CFP/File photo]
Wang Chuanfu, chairman of electric car and battery maker BYD Co Ltd, in which US billionaire Warren Buffett holds a stake, topped the Forbes China rich list, with Liu Yongxing and Zong Qinghou behind him, according to the list released in Shanghai Thursday.
Wang, who ranked 23rd on the list last year, saw his fortune increase by nearly five times from $1.06 billion 12 months ago to the current $5.8 billion, Sina.com, a major website in China, said.
Liu Yongxing, the 61-year-old president of agricultural feed company East Hope Group, saw his fortune increase by $2.5 billion to $5.5 billion, putting him just behind Wang on the list. He created the company along with his three brothers, which became one of the most successful in China's agricultural feed industry, Sina.com said. His yet-to-be listed East Hope Group is now focusing on heavy industries.
Wahaha's multimillionaire founder and chairman Zong Qinghou was in third place with $4.8 billion. Zong's fortune was $1.3 billion last year, according to Sina.com.
Thanks to the active trading of China's stock market, the global financial crisis had little impact on the first 40 billionaires on the list. Instead, their fortunes doubled from $52 billion to $106 billion in the past year, the website said.
On the latest Forbes China rich list the first 40 billionaires' fortune was all above $1 billion, while last year only 24 had fortunes of more than $1 billion, according to the website.
"The increase of their fortune [the first 40 billionaires] is in great contrast with the loss of other countries' billionaires," Sina.com said citing Russell Flannery, Forbes senior editor and compiler of the list, adding that this reflected the government's success in maintaining robust domestic demand.
Among the first 40 billionaires on the list, five were female: Yang Huiyan, from Country Garden, a real estate developer, 5th with $3.9 billion; Zhang Xin, wife of Soho chairman Pan Shiyi, 22nd with $2.3 billion; Hong Kong Huabao International Chairman Zhu Linyao 25th with $2.15 billion; Wu Yajun, head of real estate developer Longfor Group, 29th with her and her husband's fortune totaling $1.75 billion; Zhang Yin, from Nine Dragons Paper, 31st with $1.72 billion.