Car battery tycoon tops China’s rich list

November 5th, 2009 - 6:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Shanghai, Nov 5 (IANS) Wang Chuanfu, chairman of electric car and battery maker BYD, has become China’s richest person, according to an annual rich list released by Forbes Thursday.
Wang leapt 23 places to top the Forbes’ China Rich List after his fortune increased to 39.6 billion yuan ($5.8 billion).

BYD, or Build Your Dream, soared after a unit of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway agreed to buy a 10-percent stake last year.

Liu Yongxing, president of the East Hope Group who topped the list last year, came in second with a fortune of 37.55 billion yuan.

Liu and his brothers started business in 1982 raising chicken and quail with an initial investment of $120.

Now the Shanghai-based East Hope integrated agricultural feed and heavy chemical industry chain has more than 10,000 employees with an annual output value of more than 30 billion yuan, Xinhua reported.

Zhejiang Wahaha Group president Zong Qinghou came in third. The beverage giant expanded this year with an investment of more than six billion yuan despite the financial crisis, creating more than 7,000 jobs.

Sales in the first nine months hit 32 billion yuan, a 25-percent increase against the same period last year. Its tax payment surged by 82 percent to 9.3 billion yuan, Zong said.

The total assets of China’s 40 richest people doubled from $52 billion to a record $106 billion over the past year, Forbes said.

All the top 40 are billionaires, compared with just 24 billionaires last year.

The asset surge of China’s super-rich was a sharp contrast to the shrinking fortunes of billionaires in other countries, reflecting the great potential of the Chinese market, Forbes senior editor Russell Flannery said in a press conference.

The 28-year-old Yang Huiyan, shareholder of Guangdong developer, Country Gardens, run by her father, ranked China’s wealthiest woman and fifth on the list. She saw her fortune increase by 75 percent to $3.9 billion, but still below her 2007 net worth of $16.2 billion.

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