Beijing has become the ‘Billionaire Capital of the World’ for the third year running, according to the recently released Hurun Global Rich List 2018.
The report shows a staggering increase in the number of billionaires globally, with China topping the growth rate by adding 210 new billionaires. In total, China has 819 billionaires, 40% more than the number of billionaires in the US, which ranks second.
China’s capital city Beijing is listed again to have more rich men than any other cities in the world. It’s now home to 131 billionaires, 37 more than last year. Five other Chinese cities (Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hangzhou) made the top 10 cities this year, with Guangzhou entering the top 10 for the first time. New York is the only American city in the top 10, ranking second with 92 billionaires.
Nevertheless, 7 of the top 10 richest men in the world are from the US (Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos had for the first time topped the list with a wealth of US$123 billion, after his wealth increased by 71% in a year). No Chinese billionaires are in the top 10 (The best being Tencent’s Pony Ma Huateng, who ranks 15th globally).
The alarming income inequality
The rapid growth in Chinese billionaires seems to suggest an alarming income inequality in China. According to a 2016 report from Peking University, the richest one percent of households in China own a third of the country’s wealth, while the poorest 25 percent own just one percent of the country’s wealth. According to the World Bank, the Gini coefficient of China in 2012 was 0.42, which exceeds 0.40 proposed by the World Bank as the mark of severe income inequality.
What is the Hurun Report?
The Hurun Report Inc. is a Shanghai-based research unit founded by British accountant Rupert Hoogewerf (his surname is translated as ‘Hurun’ in Chinese). Hoogewerf first compiled the China Rich List in 1999, and before long Hurun’s annual Rich List has become an index for those who are especially interested in China’s private sector.