Despite a generally slow year, 2015 has seen China produce wealthy people on a scale that no other country has ever paralleled. In as short as 10 months, the East Asian economic powerhouse has produced 242 new dollar billionaires, bringing its total number of ultra high-net-worth individuals to 596. This means that China has already overtaken the U.S. (537) as home to the most number of billionaires. If Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan are included, the Greater China total reaches 715. Real estate tycoon Wang Jianlin is currently mainland China’s wealthiest person with a net worth of $29.5 billion.
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Six self-made billionaires in the list were born in the 1980s, including Frank Wang (35) of DJI Innovations with a $3.4-billion net worth. Pony Ma (44), founder of social media empire Tencent Holdings, is the youngest of China’s 10 richest people, with $18.8 billion. Women accounted for 21 percent of the list with Zhou Qunfei, founder of Lens Technology, taking the lead at number 17 with $17.8 billion.
Although manufacturing and real estate remain the largest asset machines for the majority of China’s elite (half of the local top 10 are property magnates), information technology is a fast-growing segment of the wealth game. The number of IT-related names has risen 43 percent over 2014 to 210.
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