As the US presidential campaign kicks into gear, all we keep hearing about is capitalism. It’s come to such a point that Bernie Sanders, a US senator running for president and an avowed socialist, is asked point blank numerous times this week, “Are you a capitalist?”
Yes, we Americans are pretty gung-ho about our capitalism. The capitalist credo about ability to go from rags to riches is one of the key points of American exceptionalism.
So, sit down please, because this is going to be a little hard to take.
“Despite the slowdown in the economy, China’s richest have defied gravity, recording their best year ever, and creating more wealth than any country has ever done before in a year,” Rupert Hoogwerf, chairman and chief researcher of The Hurun Report, said in a statement.
Slowing economy? Asia Unhedged is pretty sure we’ve heard the phrase “hard landing” spoken in the Western press. Nonetheless, the number of Chinese billionaires jumped by 242 to 596 this year, according to The Hurun Report, which tracks China’s new upper class.
That’s a 68% increase and the year isn’t even over yet. If Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are included, the Greater China total reaches 715.
More shocking, this is 11% more than the 537 billionaires in the US.
The billionaire surge reflecting the rising fortunes of the technology industry, specifically, online retailing, as well as entertainment and other service businesses.
The report names Wang Jianlin, chairman of Wanda Group, which operates hotels, shopping malls and cinemas, as the top billionaire in China. His fortune grew 52% year over year to $34.4 billion.
Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, came in second at $22.7 billion.
Rounding out as third was Zeng Qinghou, chairman and CEO of the Hangzhou Wahaha soft drinks and mineral water empire, with $21.2 billion.