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Appliance retailer tops list of wealthiest
By Vicki Kwong (Bloomberg News)
Updated: 2005-10-13 06:44

Huang Guangyu, the chairman of Gome Electrical Appliances, is China's richest man for a second consecutive year, with a fortune of $1.7 billion, according to an annual ranking of the country's wealthiest business people.

The 36-year-old founder of the biggest home-appliance chain in China has increased his wealth by 30 percent in 2005 from $1.3 billion in 2004 after selling shares in the Hong Kong-listed company, Rupert Hoogewerf, a Shanghai-based researcher who compiles the China Rich List, said Tuesday. The number of billionaires rose to seven from three.

Yan Jiehe, 45, head of the privately owned China Pacific Construction Group, ranked second this year after increasing his fortune more than sevenfold to $1.5 billion. Chen Tianqiao, 32, founder of Shanda Interactive Entertainment, based in Shanghai, was third with $1.45 billion.

Huang, known in Hong Kong as Wong Kwong-yu, left Guangdong Province at age 18 with a bag of cheap plastic home appliances and rented a market stall in Beijing. Gome, which operates 188 shops in 42 Chinese cities, said net income rose 176 percent last year to 458 million Hong Kong dollars, or $59 million. Huang also invests in real estate.

Chen, a former student at Fudan University in Shanghai, scraped together 500,000 yuan, or $60,000, with friends to co-found Shanda in 1999, aiming to create online computer games for China's 100 million-plus teenagers.

William Ding, 34, founder of NetEase.com, rose to fourth place from seventh. Xu Rongmao, 55, owner of the Shanghai-based property developer Shimao Group, ranked behind Ding.

The average wealth of the top 100 on the list soared 48 percent to $440 million, from $297 million in 2004, the report said. Larry Yung, chairman of the Hong Kong-listed Citic Pacific, slipped to sixth place from third, even as his fortune climbed to $1.1 billion from $1 billion.

Most on the list made their money in real estate, manufacturing, information technology and retail.

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