Chinese Billionaires (in 2021) 💸 Who Is Really The Richest?

The 6 Richest Men in China – Who are China’s Biggest Billionaires?

Chinese Billionaires (亿万富翁 Yì wàn fùwēng) are increasing by the year!

Chinese Millionaires - Money

In fact, China produces 4 in every 10 new billionaires, outpacing the USA in the last year.

China was responsible for 182 of the 479 new billionaires in 2020.

China’s total number of billionaires is now 799.

To put that into perspective, the US created 59 new billionaires, with its total nationwide now 626.

DID YOU KNOW – 5 of the world’s top 10 cities with the highest number of richest people ( 有钱人 Yǒu qián rén) are Chinese!

Beijing remains the Chinese city with the biggest number of Chinese billionaires (110), followed by Shanghai (83), Hong Kong (76), Shenzhen (75) and Guangzhou (45).

But do you know who are the Chinese richest men?

Let’s find out the top 6 Chinese Billionaires right now and how they acquired their wealth!

Chinese Billionaires – #1 Zhong Shanshan – Nongfu Spring

Chinese Billionaires – #2 Ma Huateng – Tencent

Chinese Billionaires – #3 Colin Huang – Pinduoduo

Chinese Billionaires – #4 Jack Ma – Alibaba

Chinese Billionaires – #5 Wang Wei  – SF Express

Chinese Billionaires – #6 He Xiangjian – Midea

Chinese Billionaires - Millionaire

#1 Zhong Shanshan $68.9 Billion 🥇

If you have been in China, you will have most likely taken a bottle of Nongfu Spring (农夫山泉 nóngfū shānquán).

Zhong Shanshan (钟睒睒) is the father of this very popular Chinese brand.

Among all the Chinese millionaires, he was virtually unknown until 2020, when, just for a few days, his wealth exceeded Ma’s.

However in 2021 he had another boost and has now officially become China’s richest person toppling Jack Ma from the number one spot.

Before starting his own business, he had many jobs: he was a construction worker, a newspaper reporter and a beverage sales agent.

His first business was linked to medical pills. These pills became so popular that he earned the first million from these alone.

The big break however, came in 1966, when he discovered a water basin near to his hometown, in the Zhejiang province.

He started to produce purified water but later Nongfu turned into mineral water business.

However his recent promotion to China’s number one richest person is largely due to another company he is the majority owner of: Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise.

This pharmaceutical company went public on the Shanghai Stock Exchange in April 2020 and is a maker of vaccines and hepatitis test kits.

The Chinese Water Market

The Chinese water market has enjoyed huge growth.

Mineral water represents 91% of the entire market, while sparkling water has a share of 7% and flavoured waters 2%.

Nongfu Spring appears to continue to lead China’s bottled water.  

In fact, it has experienced an increase in the last few years: from 19 billion in litres produced in 2010, to 37 billion in 2015.

It is expected to reach 49 million tons of total annual consumption this year.

Nongfu Spring controls a quarter of the entire Chinese market, continuing to lead China’s bottled water sector.

Chinese Pharmaceutical Market

The Chinese pharmaceutical market is developing very quickly.

In fact, thanks to the industrial plan “Made in China 2025“, China has tried to stimulate R&Ds in order to compete with foreign pharmaceutical companies.

In 2018, the total revenue of Chinese pharmaceutical market amounted to 2.6 trillion yuan.

#2 Ma Huateng – $65.8 Billion 🥈

Ma Huateng (马化腾), also known as Pony Ma is second in our list of Chinese Billionaires.

He was passionate about astronomy but he couldn’t take this course in his university in Shenzhen, so he decided to take on computer science instead.

This choice made his fortune!

At the age of 27, Pony Ma founded (with a group of friends), one of the most popular and richest companies in China.

That company is Tencent (腾讯 téngxùn).

Tencent is the father of QQ and Wechat.

QQ is an instant messaging software service and web portal, which became very famous in 1999.

At first, it was a simple instant messaging app, just like Messenger, the mobile app associated to Facebook.

However, it rapidly became more.

The app launched QQ Wallet as an online mobile payment service and transformed itself into a social gaming platform.

Besides, you can also share files, music and many other things through QQ.

In 2010, QQ became the biggest social networking platform in China, with 492 million of active users.

However, Pony Ma’s fortune mostly derives from Wechat (微信) the super app, which you cannot do without if you want to live in China.

GREAT BLOG ALERT – Do you want to know how to use Wechat? Check out our guide.

Tencent is also known for being the largest video-games company’s in the world.

Its most played games include League of Legend and Clash of Clans and has recently concluded a deal with Nintendo to release the Nintendo Switch in China.

What’s the difference between WeChat Pay and Alipay?

Chinese Video Game Industry

The Chinese video game industry is composed by more than half a billion players.

Thanks to its size, China has been described as the “Games Industry Capital of the World”.

Revenue is projected to reach US$27,817m in 2020.

Mobile games – or games played on your smartphone – (手机游戏 shǒujī yóuxì) takes up an important part of the market.

Mobile gaming grew rapidly, and will continue to do so over the next several years: from about 10% of market in 2012 to more than 50% by 2018, reaching a volume of $21,251m in 2020.

In general, Tencent Games division contribute to 46% of the overall revenue of the Chinese video game market and nearly 10% of the global video game market, making it the largest video game company in the world.

At the end of the day, how rich is Pony Ma?!

Let’s have a look at recent years’ Tencent growth in revenue:

YearTencent Revenue
2015102.9 billion RMB
2016151.9 billion RMB
2017237.8 billion RMB
2018312.7 billion RMB
2019377.3 billion RMB

#3 Colin Huang – $55.3 Billion 🥉

A relative new comer on the list of Chinese billionaires we have Colin Huang or Zheng Huang (黄峥 huáng zhēng). He is the founder and CEO of the e-commerce company Pinduoduo.

So what is Pinduoduo?

Pinduoduo 拼多多 pīn duōduō is an online shopping site that was founded in 2015. It soon became the world’s fastest growing tech company and within just four years it already held 3rd place in total amount of e-commerce sales.

The company’s success lies in their unique selling strategy which is that it uses social media.

Users can share Pinduoduo’s products on their social media and invite contacts into a “shopping team” to buy products as a group in order to get a lower price.

The bigger the group the bigger the discounts available which can be as much as a staggering 90% off!

Along with this, Pinduoduo is also the biggest online marketplace for agricultural produce. Farmers, for example, can be distributors and are connected directly to consumers through their shopping platform.

This means that unlike companies like Amazon Pinduoduo has no warehouses of stock and instead products are shipped directly from the seller.

Chinese E-Commerce Market

China is the largest e-commerce market ( 电子商务市场 diànzǐ shāngwù shìchǎng) in the world, with an annual online sales of $672 billion.  

As the picture below shows, Chinese e-commerce is bigger than the US and the UK’s combined e-commerce markets. These are respectively second and third place in the world.

Source iResearch for China

In 2019 the e-commerce market was dominated by Alibaba (more about them later), which held a 59.9% share of the entire market, however Pinduoduo already managed to get 7.3% of the market in just four years.

The second position was occupied by JD.com, separated by almost 40% from Alibaba. JD is also known as Jingdong.

DID YOU KNOW – Online retail sales in China are the biggest in the world! There are 5 major online sales days every year in China.

Chinese-Billionaires
Source eMarketer

#4 Jack Ma – $48.4 Billion

Jack Ma or Mǎ Yún (马云) is a businessman, investor and philanthropist.

Until recently he held the number one spot for richest man in China, but 2020-21 has not been the best year for Jack Ma.

He is known as the co-founder and former chairman of Alibaba Group.

Alibaba Group (阿里巴巴集团 Ālǐ bābā jítuán) is the world’s largest retailer and e-commerce company. It was founded in 1999 by Jack Ma and his 17 friends in Hangzhou.

The company provides consumer-to-consumer (C2C) and business-to-business (B2B) sales services.

Through Alibaba, Jack Ma launched three famous Chinese sales platforms:

  • Taobao Market Place ( 淘宝网 táobǎo wǎng), a consumer-to-consumer (C2C) retail online retail platform;
  • Tmall.com (天猫 tiān māo), a business-to-consumer (B2C) online retail platform;
  • AliExpress, an online retail platform that offers products to international online buyers.

FUN FACT – In 2009 trademarked the term ‘Double 11’, making Single’s Day on 11/11 the Chinese Black Friday!

Jack Ma’s Alibaba is also the parent company of AliPay (支付宝 zhīfùbǎo).

AliPay is the world’s largest mobile payment platform with 870 million of users. It can be used not only by people but also by companies and e-commerce platforms.

Chinese Mobile Payment Market

Over recent years mobile payment platforms have dominated the way people pay for things in China. There are two main mobile payment platforms which are Alipay and WeChat Pay.

According to a survey conducted in 2018 92% of people living in China’s largest cities use WeChat Pay or Alipay as their main means of payment. In rural areas 47% of people were reported to regularly use mobile payments.

In 2020 the Chinese government encouraged people to use mobile payments and avoid other payment methods in order to reduce the risk of Covid 19 spreading. This has led to an even further boost in mobile payment usage.

Just look at the two charts below and you can see how much mobile platforms now dominate the market in China.

Do you want to know more about how to use AliPay?

Have a look at this video, or if you like discover how Alipay can be used by foreigners in China to replace carrying cash!

To understand Jack Ma’s wealth, let’s have a look at Alibaba’s revenue growth from 2010 to 2020.

In 2020, they reached over 509 billion RMB, making Jack Ma the richest of all of China’s Billionaires until he was overtaken by Zhong Shanshan.

Chinese-Billionaires
Source statista.com

In 2018 Jack Ma decided to step down as executive chairman of Alibaba Group and to dedicate himself to educational work, philanthropy, and environmental causes.

In 2019,  Ma was named in the list of “Asia’s 2019 Heroes of Philanthropy” for his work supporting underprivileged communities in China, Africa, Australia, and the Middle East.

In response to the COVID-19 situation, he also launched various initiatives, some of which involved donating medical supplies to various countries.

#5 Wang Wei  – $39 Billion

Stealing the fifth spot of Chinese billionaires in 2021 we have Wang Wei (王卫 wáng wèi) who is the founder and chairman of SF Express.

Known as the “FedEx of China” SF Express’s revenue rose 37% in 2020 largely due to the increase in online shopping caused by Covid 19. This boosted Wang Wei up to the number 10 spot of richest people in China, but further growth has now put him all the way up to top 5.

SF Express was founded in 1993 by Wang providing a private courier service between Hong Kong and Guangdong Province.

At this time private couriers were actually illegal in China so Wang actually started out as an illegal border-crossing delivery man, pretty crazy huh!

SF Express then went public in 2017 when it entered the Shenzhen Stock exchange, with Wang owning 60% of the stock. It is now the largest express-delivery company in China.

Chinese Express Delivery Market

With the huge rise of ecommerce in China it will come as now surprise that there has also been a big increase in the Chinese courier market over recent years.

The volume of express delivery in China has increased from 20.67 billion in 2015 to 63.52 billion in 2019. With the Covid 19 outbreak there was a decrease in express deliver in January and February 2020, however by August 2020 it had recovered with an express delivery volume totalling 48.05 billion, a year-on-year increase of 25.4%.

#6 He Xiangjian – $37.7 Billion

Finally in 6th place on our list of Chinese Billionaires is He Xiangjian (何享健)

Hé Xiǎngjiàn is the co-founder of Midea (美的集团 měide jítuán).

Midea is one of the largest Chinese appliance makers.

Its main product is air conditioners.

Besides AC units, they also manufacture other major home appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines, and dishwashers.

The company sells his product in a growing number of foreign markets, and most countries in southeast Asia.

Last year, the company’s sales exceeded 43 billion of yuan, an increase of 30% over last year.

In fact, it ranked first in all household appliances category on platforms such as JD and Tmall.

These numbers combined place He Xiang Jian at the 5th place among Chinese billionaires.

Chinese Home Appliances Market

The China home appliances market is growing at the huge growth rate, beating any other nation worldwide.

It is forecasted to be worth more than $130 Billion by the end of year 2026.

WANT TO FIND OUT MORE – Check out the BIGGEST day of online sales anywhere in the world – China’s Singles Day.


Chinese Billionaires – FAQ’s

Who is the richest man in China?

The richest man in China is Zhong Shanshan (钟睒睒) who is the founder and owner of the Chinese water brand, Nongfu Spring.

How many Chinese billionaires in total?

China was responsible for 182 of the 479 new billionaires in 2020.

China’s total number of billionaires is now 799.

Who made more billionaires in 2020, the US or China?

China.

China was responsible for 182 of the 479 new billionaires in 2020.

The US created 59 new billionaires, with its total nationwide now 626.

Who is the second richest man in China?

The second richest man in China is 马化腾 Ma Huateng, also known as Pony Ma, who follows Jack Ma with $57.2 billion to his name.

Who is the third richest man in China?

The third richest man in China is Colin Huang or Zheng Huang (黄峥 huáng zhēng) who is the founder and CEO of the e-commerce company Pinduoduo.

Who is the fourth richest man in China?

The fourth richest man China is Jack Ma, Mǎ Yún (马云) who is the founder of Alibaba and Alipay.

He used be the richest man in China but has now fallen to fourth place.

Who is the fifth richest man in China?

The fifth richest man in China is Wang Wei (王卫 wáng wèi) who is the founder and chairman of SF Express.

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