China No.2 in billionaires: researcher

Updated: 2007-10-10 16:48

SHANGHAI - China has more billionaires than any country except the United States, as soaring stock and property prices helped boost wealth among the country's super-rich, researcher Rupert Hoogewerf said on Wednesday.

The number of Chinese in the Chinese mainland worth $1 billion or more jumped to 108, from 15 last year, Hoogewerf said in his 2007 "rich list," which ranks the 800 wealthiest individuals in the Chinese mainland.

The average wealth of those on the list doubled from a year earlier to $562 million.

There's still plenty of growth opportunity as Chinese mainland's top entrepreneurs turn their sights to the vast underdeveloped and largely unregulated economic hinterland, Hoogewerf said.

This file photo shows Yang Huiyan, Chinese mainland's wealthiest person, during her wedding ceremony with her husband.  [Agencies]

Yang Huiyan, in her twenties, tops the list after receiving $17.5 billion from her property developer father, the report said, echoing another rich list published by Forbes magazine on Tuesday.

Last year's champion, Zhang Yin, fell to second place even as her wealth tripled to $10 billion after a surge in the share price of Nine Dragons Paper (Holdings) Ltd, in which she holds a 72 percent stake.

In a sign that Chinese mainland's economic growth is largely driven by construction and manufacturing, rather than by science and technology, seven of Chinese mainland's 10 richest people are mainly or partly in the real estate business.

Xu Rongmao, owner of Shimao Property Holdings Ltd, ranked number three with $7.5 billion in wealth.

Huang Guangyu, who founded GOME Electrical Appliances Holdings and owns unlisted property businesses, is the fourth wealthiest person with $6 billion.

Surging share prices created much of the wealth of those on Hoogewerf's list.

Nine made the list due to shareholdings in Minsheng Banking Corp -- the most prominent creator of super-rich of any Chinese mainland company.

Ping An Insurance (Group) Co and Western Mining Co, a zinc and lead miner in China's far-flung western region, were each responsible for the wealth of seven on the list.

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