Number of super-rich people in China hits record high: Report

BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Although China's economic growth has slowed somewhat over the past year, the number of super-rich people has expanded to a record high, according to the recently released China Ultra High Net Wealth Report 2014-2015.

The number of people from the Chinese mainland who hold assets worth at least 500 million yuan (S$109.4 million) has exceeded 17,000, according to the report.

From 2008 to 2013, the report generally listed no more than 1,000 names.

The report was jointly released by China Minsheng Bank and the Hurun Research Institute last Thursday in Beijing.

The number of China Ultra High Net Wealth people this year reached a record high for the 15 years the Hurun Research Institute has released the China Rich List.

The 2014-2015 report investigated in detail where these people live, how they accumulated their wealth and their lifestyles, the Chinese first report to do so.

The total assets of the super rich soared to 31 trillion yuan, 10 times the gross domestic product of Norway and 20 times that of the Philippines. They have an average age of 51 and average assets of 1.82 billion yuan.

The report found that most on the list are entrepreneurs, property developers or professional investors.

Some 300 of them have assets worth at least 10 billion yuan, and about 5,100 have assets worth 1 billion to 2 billion yuan. The rest have 500 million to 1 billion yuan.

"We raised the threshold of the report to 500 million yuan, a new high. Still, the number of China ultra-high net-wealth people this year is much more than in previous years," said Mr Rupert Hoogewerf, founder of the Hurun Research Institute, at a news conference.

He attributed this to China's economic development and the recovery of its stock market.

Most of the entrepreneurs come from manufacturing industries and own listed companies whose initial public offerings were in Shanghai or Shenzhen.

Singapore's zaobao.com reported that 55 per cent of them do not live in the first-tier cities - such as Beijing - but rather in the second-tier and third-tier cities.

The report also studied in detail their attitudes towards investment and life.

Most are optimistic about the current business environment. About half thought that it would be easier to get loans in the coming three years, the macroeconomy would improve and entrepreneurs would be more respected than they are now.

However, only one-third thought their profits would increase. Forty-five per cent favor investing in jewelry and jade, and 29 per cent like collecting calligraphy and paintings.

More than 80 per cent would like to invest in overseas projects in the future, and half of them have already done so.