Blockchain’s wealthy enter China rich list for the first time
Blockchain is the fastest-growing industry among China’s entrepreneurs according to the Hurun Research Institute’s 2018 China Rich List, published on Wednesday.
Technology companies were dominant at the top of the list, with Jack Ma, co-founder and executive chairman of search engine giant Alibaba, jumping to the number-one spot with a personal fortune of $39bn.
Traditional industries fall
He replaced Xu Jiayin, chairman of real estate firm Evergrande Group – among the more traditional industries that used to dominate the top of the list. Xu holds a personal fortune of $36bn.
He was followed very closely by Pony Ma Huateng, founder, chairman and chief executive of Tencent, the internet and tech group that is Asia’s most valuable company, with wealth amounting to $35bn.
It was China’s young entrepreneurs in emerging technologies such as blockchain and cryptocurrencies, however, that caught the eye – as these industries made it on to the list for the first time.
These included “Blockchain King” Zhan Ketuan, co-founder of bitcoin miner and mining equipment maker, who was a new entry at number 95 with personal wealth of $4.3bn. Bitmain’s other co-founder Wu Jihan made position number 204 with $2.3bn.
Also on the list was Zhao Changpeng, founder of the cryptocurrency exchange Binance, with a personal fortune of $2.2bn.
Rupert Hoogewerf, author of the report and rich list, said, “The scalability of the market coupled with a strong investor ecosystem is creating big new businesses fast.”
Altogether, Hurun’s research said blockchain was officially the fastest-growing industry with 14 new faces on the list of the top 200 richest people in China.
The total number of China’s rich – calculated by Hurun as those with a personal wealth above 2bn yuan ($209m) – dropped to 1,893 individuals from 2,130 in the previous year.
Hoogewerf said: “A 20% drop in the stock exchange, on the back of a slowing economy and the US-China trade war, resulted in 456 drop-offs this year, the highest since records began twenty years ago.”