There are now 315 billionaires in China, according to the Hurun Report’s 2013 Rich List, with the top five seeing their net-worth double on average over the last year, as a surge in stock and asset prices helped boost overall wealth.
The Hurun Report, which tracks China’s wealthiest people, named property tycoon Wang Jianlin as China's new richest person, with a net-worth of close to $22 billion.
Zong Qinghou, chairman of Hangzhou-based beverages giant Wahaha Group, came in second after his wealth grew by 44 percent year-on-year; while Ma Huateng, 42, co-founder and chairman of Tencent Holdings, was third on the list with his personal wealth estimated at $10.1 billion.
Compared with just 251 billionaires last year, the number of billionaires in the world's second-largest economy grew by 25 percent this year. Astonishingly, there were zero billionaires in China just a decade ago.
Now, the country has more billionaires than any other nation in the world except for the U.S.. According to the Forbes Rich List, the U.S. is still home to the world’s highest number of ultra-rich at 442 billionaires.
One in four of the 1,021 people on the Hurun rich list made their money from property, which passed manufacturing to become this year's top source of wealth in China.
"Strong performances in real estate and IT have driven China's richest to new records," noted Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun Report’s Chairman and Chief Researcher.
Overall, China’s richest 1000 people became 27 percent better off in the past 12 months, the report found. 559 of those on the list saw their wealth grow, while 252 saw their fortunes shrink.
Interestingly, a sizable portion of China's billionaires also had ties to the ruling political party, the report showed. Of the 1,000 individuals on the rich list, 153 were appointed to the 12th National People's Congress or Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.