China’s billionaire population shrinks as global economic factors take toll

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23rd March 2023 – (Shanghai) More than 400 people lost their billionaire status in 2022, mostly from China, as global monetary tightening, COVID-19 disruptions, and Beijing’s crackdown on major tech companies hurt the super wealthy, according to the Hurun Global Rich List 2023, which ranks moguls with a minimum net worth of US$1 billion.

China lost 229 billionaires, accounting for more than half of the 445 people who disappeared from the list. The world’s second-biggest economy also added 69 new billionaires, bringing the total number to 969 as of Jan. 16, 2023, ahead of the United States with 691.

Luxury brands had a good year, with LVMH chief Bernard Arnault rising to the top of the list, and Hermes heirs Bertrand Puech and family coming in third. The number of billionaires in the world is down by 8%, while their total wealth dropped 10%, according to Rupert Hoogewerf, founder and chairman of the Hurun Report.

A total of 3,112 people made the list, versus 3,381 a year earlier.

The report also noted that interest rate hikes, the appreciation of the U.S. Dollar, the popping of a COVID-driven tech bubble, and the continued impact of the Russia-Ukraine war have all combined to hurt stock markets. In China, Jack Ma, founder of China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding, dropped to 52nd place from 34th a year earlier, due largely to China’s regulatory crackdown on its tech sector.

Hoogewerf said he was generally positive towards this year after gauging scales of economic confidence and happiness among Chinese high-net-worth individuals, but he was uncertain whether there would be a global financial crisis.