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What Country Has the Most Billionaires? Not U.S.

China has 596 billionaires---up 242 in the past year—to overtake for the first time the United States, which has 537.   

| BY Donald Liebenson

The United States has lost bragging rights as to which country is home to the most billionaires.

According to the Huran Rich List 2015, a ranking of the richest individuals of China and India, China has 596 billionaires---up 242 in the past year—to overtake for the first time the United States, which has 537. The List grew at an unprecedented pace, the report states, with an additional 606 individuals for a total of 1877

China, the report states, has been minting five billionaires a week in the past 12 months. Adding in the billionaires from Hong Kong. Yaiwan and Macao, Greater China entrepreneurs number 716.

The list is a snapshot of August 14, the same date as last year’s rankings, but the beginning of that country’s market slowdown that triggered an historic selloff on August 24, “It's unclear how much wealth was destroyed during the remainder of August and September,” noted Robert Frank, writing for CNBC. “At the time of the list's cutoff, stock markets were already 30 percent off their June peak, but have dropped another 14 percent since.”

Robert Hoogewerf, Hurun Report Chairman and Chief Researcher said in a statement, “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.”

Who are China’s top 10 billionaires? Their average age is 53. Three are 45 and under, including 29-year old roadbuilder Yan Hao. Five made their money from real estate, three more than last year; while four are tycoons, one less than in 2014. Technology was the fastest-growing source of wealth among China’s 10 wealthiest billionaires.

Almost all of China’s wealthiest individuals (95 percent) count themselves as self-made.”China is now officially the most exciting country in the world for entrepreneurship,” Hoogewerf stated.

The Hurun Rich List 2015 Top 10 are:

1.      Wang Jianlin ($34.4 billion)

2.      Jacvk Ma Yun ($22.7 billion)

3.      Zong Qinghou ($21.1 billion)

4.      Pony Ma Huateng (18.8 billion)

5.      Lei Jun ($14.4 billion)

6.      Yan Hao ($14.2 billion)

7.      Li Yanhong and Ma Dongmin ($13.3 billion)

8.      Lu Zhinqiang ($13 billion)

9.      Zhang Jindong ($12.7 billion)

10.    Lu Guanqiu ($10.2 billion)

Compared with the world’s billionaires as ranked this year by Forbes’ magazine, Jianlin would rank 16th, just below Jeff Bezos ($34.8 billion) and just above Mark Zuckerberg ($33.4 billion).


About the Author

Donald Liebenson

Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.  

A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.