Alibaba founder Jack Ma richest person in China with $38.2b: Forbes

By Wang Bozun Source:Global Times Published: 2019/11/7 22:23:41

Alibaba's former executive chairman Jack Ma attends the Forbes Global CEO conference 2019 in Singapore, on Oct. 15, 2019. (Xinhua/Then Chih Wey)

Jack Ma, founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, is once more the richest person in China, according to the 2019 Forbes China Rich List released on Thursday. 

The list also showed that despite an economic slowdown in China and the trade war with the US, the total wealth of Chinese entrepreneurs rose by one-fifth.

Since Alibaba was listed in New York in 2014, Jack Ma has topped the list twice (2014 and 2019). However, according to Forbes' 2019 World Billionaires list, there is still a huge gap between him and Jeff Bezos, Amazon's CEO and founder, who ranked No.1 on the list in 2019 with net wealth of $111.9 billion (as of Wednesday), nearly $80 billion or three times higher than Ma's $38.2 billion.

The list shows that there are 2,153 billionaires in the world with net wealth of $8.7 trillion, higher than the combined GDP of Japan ($4.87 trillion) and Germany ($3.7 trillion).

The figures from Forbes indicate that in terms of quantity or total wealth, the US is dominant as 14 out of the top 20 billionaires are from the US, while Ma is the only one within the top 20 from China.

However, the growth rate of Chinese billionaires is in a leading position, having grown from 64 in 2010 to 324 in 2019, while the reading for the US went from 404 in 2010 to 607 in 2019.

Cao Heping, a professor at the School of Economics at Peking University in Beijing, told the Global Times on Thursday that the figures show China has more potential for the wealth and number of billionaires to further grow, because China's average income is lower than that of the US.

"China's GDP per capita is about $10,000 while that of the US is more than $40,000, and it is easier for China to grow from $10,000 to $30,000. With the huge potential of average income growth, the number of Chinese billionaires could soon catch up with that of the US," Cao said. 

The total wealth of the 400 members on the 2019 China Rich list rose from $1.06 trillion in 2018 to $1.29 trillion, which Cao said was a result of China's economic structural transformation.

"China is transforming its economic growth focus from scale to value, which offers entrepreneurs more chances to extend their business scope and generate more profit," Cao said.

Citing Russell Flannery, editor-in-chief of Forbes China, Forbes said that "China's economic growth may be easing but the country's savvy entrepreneurs continue to find ways to create new businesses and fortunes. Access to capital markets also notably helped."


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