Wang Chuanfu of BYD is the richest man in China with wealth of US$5.1 billion, followed by Zhang Yin of Nine Dragons Paper with wealth of US$4.9 billion.
The number of known US Dollar billionaires in China has grown to 130, up from 101 in 2008. The full list is to be released later in October.
“It seems ironic to me that China’s richest person could come from the car industry, especially considering the crisis this industry is facing across the world,” says Rupert Hoogewerf, founder and compiler of the Hurun Rich List.
“Wang Chuanfu is leading the foray into the next generation of cars using clean technology.”
43-year old Wang Chuanfu saw his wealth shoot up five-fold to take top spot on the 2009 Hurun Rich List with wealth of US$ 5.1 billion.
Last year Wang was ranked 103 with wealth of US$880 million. Wang’s 27.8% of HK-listed BYD hit the big-time shortly after Warren Buffett bought 10% of the company one year ago.
BYD is highly regarded for its technology and innovation, and is considered a leader of the new generation of “green cars”.
Zhang Yin, the first woman to take top spot on the 2006 Hurun Rich List, has seen her stock double over the past year.
The ‘Paper Queen’ owns 72.25% of HK-listed Nine Dragons Paper together with husband Liu Mingzhong and brother Zhang Chengfei.
Nine Dragons Paper imports recycled paper and processes it into packaging and paper materials primarily targeted at China’s export industry.
“I estimate there to be the same number again of US Dollar billionaires that we have not yet found,” says Rupert Hoogewerf, founder and compiler of the Hurun Rich List.
The cut-off date for valuation of listed companies was 15 September 2009. The exchange rate used for US$ was RMB 6.8.
The Hurun Rich List relates to Mainland Chinese only, defined as someone born and brought up in Mainland China, no matter what passport they might hold today.