Wednesday 10 October 2018 4:41 pm

Alibaba billionaire Jack Ma named China’s richest man

Sport and Business Reporter at City AM. Email:

Sport and Business Reporter at City AM. Email:


Alibaba founder Jack Ma has been named as the richest man in China for the second time in recent years after his wealth rose more than a third to $39bn (£29.6bn).

Ma last topped the Hurun rich list in 2014 but has regained his position at the top after a new round of investment in his payments firm Ant Financial, which was valued at $150bn.

The 54-year-old’s wealth has increased by 35 per cent since last year, according to the list, just weeks after announcing his retirement from his online retail giant Alibaba.

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The $10bn increase in Mr Ma’s wealth moves him ahead of Evergrande founder Xu Jiayin as well as Pony Ma, the entrepreneur behind rival tech firm Tencent.

Real estate magnate Jiayin saw his wealth drop to $36bn, 14 per cent down on last year as property sales growth slowed.

Pony Ma’s net worth also fell for the first time since entering the list in 2005 as he dropped to third place with $35bn – a four per cent decrease caused by a decline in Tencent’s share price.

The company’s value fell largely due to a government imposed suspension on the approval of new video games.

The number of people making the rich list fell by 11 per cent this year, with people failing to pass the personal wealth threshold of $290m.

While 1,893 people made the cut, the loss of 456 names from the list was the biggest since it began 20 years ago and appeared to reflect the slowing growth in China’s economy.

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Founder of the list, Rupert Hoogewerf, blamed “a 20 per cent drop in the stock exchange, on the back of a slowing economy and the US-China trade war” for the decline.

The manufacturing industry continued to prove the biggest source of wealth, accounting for more than a quarter of the individuals on the list.

Real estate was second, behind 14.9 per cent of the names on the list, while investments moved above IT to complete the top four industries.