- China accounted for 62 of the 236 new names added to Forbes’ latest list of global billionaires.
- Nearly a third of newcomers to China are tech moguls.
- China’s slowing economy and sweeping technological crackdown are weighing on the billionaire’s fortune.
China hit more billionaires last year than any other economy in the world.
That’s according to this year’s edition of Forbes’ annual World’s Billionaires list, which includes 236 newly minted billionaires. Among them, 62 come from China.
Despite Beijing’s sweeping crackdown on the tech sector, China’s tech industry accounted for almost a third of the new billionaires on the list.
New entrants to the industry include Hong Kong-based Tang Xiao’ou (net worth $5.7 billion), who founded the artificial intelligence company SenseTime; Chris Xu (net worth $5.4 billion), who founded online fast fashion retailer Shein; and Chinese “Instagram killer” creators Xiaohongshu, Miranda Qu and Charlwin Mao (net worth $1.8 billion each).
The United States produced the second largest crop of new entrants with 50 new billionaires, while India was third with 29 new billionaires. Forbes’ ranking, released on Tuesday, is based on the billionaire’s net worth calculated via stock prices and exchange rates as of March 11, 2022.
China has implemented various lockdowns over the course of 2021 as COVID-19 outbreaks erupt across the country. These restrictions have impacted global manufacturing and supply chains, and as a result, China has experienced an economic downturn. Some economists are sounding the alarm that China’s slowdown worsened earlier this year, Bloomberg reported.
At the same time, Beijing has consistently cracked down on its homegrown tech sector. Over the past year, he has targeted worker and consumer rights issues in the sector, launched antitrust investigations against tech companies and stepped up data security oversight. As a result, “a lot of investors are freaking out,” an expert told Insider. Earlier this week, the Hang Seng Tech index is down nearly 60% since its last high in February 2021, Bloomberg reported.
These pressures have reduced the net worth of many billionaires.
Zhang Yiming, China’s second-richest person and the founder of TikTok’s parent company ByteDance, saw his fortune shrink to $50 billion from $59.4 billion last year. Pony Ma, China’s third-richest person and the founder of Tencent, saw his net worth drop to $37.2 billion from $49.1 billion in 2021. Zhong Shanshan, chairman and founder of the producer Nongfu Spring bottled water remains China’s richest person with a net worth of $65.7 billion.