According to the Hurun Global Rich List 2020 released earlier this weel, the world has minted 346 new billionaires since 2019. The annual ranking of global US-Dollar billionaires are a snapshot of the financial standings of some of the world’s richest individuals as of 31 January 2020 and it is the Hurun Report has produced the Global Rich List for its ninth year running, this year, sponsored by Shimao Shenkong International Center, a real estate development in Shenzhen.
“A boom in tech valuations and strong stockmarkets across the US, India and China propelled the billionaires to record heights. The US had a record number of 626 billionaires. China, despite the Trade War, added 182 new faces to hit 799 billionaires, three times the number of new faces in the US, widening the gap with the US.” – Hurun Report chairman and chief researcher Rupert Hoogewerf. Hurun Global Rich List 2020 discovers 346 new billionaires added since 2019 and Booming Industries due to Coronavirus
According to Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman and chief researcher of the Hurun Report which produces the Global Rich List 2020, “China today has more billionaires than the US and India combined.” Indeed, wealth hit new record highs, rising 16% to US$11 trillion, rebounding after a 9% decrease in 2019. Analogously, the billionaires on Hurun’s Global Rich List could form “the third largest country in the world, with total wealth equating to more than the GDP of any country other than the USA and China. The top 10 have a staggering US$1 trillion,” said Hoogewerf
Ranking 2,816 billionaires from 71 countries and from 2,182 companies. The Rich List saw 346 new billionaires added from 2019; with 1,811 increasing their overall net worth while 604 saw their wealth decrease, losing 130 drop-offs from billionaire status largely due to falling real estate prices. Meanwhile 369 saw their billionaire holdings remain relatively unchanged.
Real Estate might have led some of the biggest declines in fortunes but its nevertheless still a formidable driver of wealth. By industry. Tech generated 18% of total wealth, followed by Investment 11%, Retail 9% and Real Estate, 8.5%. By number of billionaires, tech was the primary source of wealth for 12.7% of billionaires, followed by real estate 9.6%, manufacturing 8.7% and investments 8.6%.
“Every day we think we could be near a bottom, and every day we are not. Today, there were more reports of the virus showing up in places like Croatia, France, Germany, Austria, Greece and elsewhere. Borders are lines on a map. The virus has spread, and the question is how much do people change their travel plans.” – Cowen analyst Helane Becker
The year leading into 2020 has generally been good for stock markets. NASDAQ (composition of the Composite is heavily weighted towards information technology companies) led the way with a 26% increase, whilst India and China’s stock markets rose 15% and 14%. However, these gains have been mostly wiped as realisation dawned that containment of the COVID-19 outbreak would likely be impossible, sending the Dow Jones down 1,200 points according to the Wall Street Journal. That said, despite the panic sell off which triggered a stop-loss protocol on the Chinese stock exchange after it re-opened following an extended Lunar New Year break to curb spreading of the coronavirus, China’s stock market is still rallied to a tune of 14% since 2019’s Rich List.
With much of China stuck at home in lockdown, the coronavirus has resulted in mini booms for online content providers like education and games – as a result, strong performances were evident this year in online game companies, including Wu Xushun (US$2.4bn) of 37 Interactive Entertainment, up 29%, Chi Yufeng (US$5.1bn) of Perfect World up 17%, Lin Qi (US$1.2bn) of Yoozoo, up 8%, as well as Robin Li of Baidu, whose online video platform iQiyi rose 8%.
Pharmaceutical companies, especially Healthcare entrepreneurs specialising in vaccinations also performed solidly including An Kang (US$4.2bn) of Hualan Biological Engineering, up 23%, Du Weimin (US$4.7bn) of Biokangtai, up 15% and Jiang Rensheng (US$8.8bn) of Zhifei Biological Products, which was up 8%.
As a result of travel advisories and/or travel bans both for both in-bound and out-bound travellers, industries that have been impacted the most include hospitality and travel companies, on the Global Rich List of the hardest hit – Zhang Yong of restaurant brand Haidilao, down 12%, Wang Xing of delivery platform Meituan-Dianping, down 15%.
When the world depends on you to be both producers and consumers, this is what results: China led the biggest growth of billionaires on Hurun’s Global Rich List with 182 newly minted high net worth individuals, followed by USA and India with 59 and 44. newcomers to the billionaire’s club came from tech (74), manufacturing (52), real estate (41), pharma (43), retail (30) and food & beverage (30); with 79 of the fastest risers. adding US$5 billion or more to their net worth over the past year, led by 25 from China, 10 from USA, 5 from France and 4 from India.
However, 7 of the world’s Top 10 billionaires on Hurun’s Global Rich List 2020 are from the USA. Steve Ballmer, Armancio Ortega and Bernard Arnault added over US$20 billion each, topping the list. The Top 10 also added US$140 billion over the year and are now worth US$961 billion or 9% of the total list.
- Jeff Bezos, of Amazon retains the top spot in the Hurun Global Rich List 2020 with US$140bn, down US$7bn, mainly due to the world’s largest divorce settlement with former wife MacKenzie Bezos
- Bernard Arnault, the only non American among the top 5 billionaires, up two spots to second place with US$107bn, up US$21bn on last year.
- Bill Gates, dropped down to third place on the Hurun Global Rich List 2020, with US$106bn, despite growing his wealth US$10bn.
- Warren Buffett, dropped down one place to fourth spot, despite a US$14bn or 16% increase to US$102bn.
- Mark Zuckerberg, aged 35, the youngest on the list, wealth was up by US$4bn, keeping him in fifth place with US$84bn.
- Amancio Ortega, owner of Zara, up one place to sixth, on the back of a massive US$25bn increase to US$81bn. Tadashi Yanai, 70, of Fast Retailing, the owner of clothes retailer Uniqlo, also saw his wealth increase by over 40% to propel him into the Top 100 for the first time.
- Carlos Slim Helu, a significant shareholder of the New York Times and financial conglomerate Citigroup, down one place to seventh with US$72bn.
- Sergey Brin and Larry Page, founders of Google, both made the Top 10 for the second year running, up 26% and 26% to US$68bn and US$67bn.
- Mukesh Ambani, of Reliance maintained a Top 10 place for the second time after a US$13bn or 24% surge in his wealth to US$67bn.
- Steve Ballmer of Microsoft was the biggest winner on the list this year, on the back of Microsoft’s share price surge past US$1 trillion valuation and become the world’s most valuable company again.
Hoogewerf says, “The world today has 6,500 dollar billionaires, up 500 on last year, assuming that for everyone we found, we have probably missed at least one if not more, particularly from the Gulf states. We have found 626 billionaires in the USA, for example, suggesting the true number should be at least double that, perhaps as many as 1,500. In China, we have found 800, but the actual number should be closer to 2,000.”