A 37-year-old appliance merchant topped a list of China's richest
businesspeople released Thursday by the business magazine Forbes, leading
a group of young entrepreneurs in China. Wong Kwong-yu, founder of Gome
Appliances, saw his wealth expand to $2.3 billion, according to Forbes.
One quarter of those on this year's list are under age 40, reflecting
the fact that most of China's fortunes have been made in the past decade
as retail, Internet and real estate companies sprang up to serve a booming
"China's richest are a lot younger than America's richest," said
Russell Flannery, Forbes' Shanghai bureau chief, at a news conference.
No. 2 on the list was property developer Xu Rongmao, with a fortune of
$2.1 billion, followed by Larry Yung, chairman of conglomerate Citic
Pacific, with $2 billion. Yung, also known as Rong Zhijian, was No. 1 last
The richest woman was No. 5 Zhang Yin, who built a paper-recycling
business into Nine Dragons Paper Co., China's biggest maker of paperboard
for packaging, at $1.5 billion.
Zhang was No. 1 on a competing list of China's richest released Oct. 11
by journalist Rupert Hoogewerf.
Flannery said Forbes calculated Zhang's wealth separately from the
stakes that her husband and brother own in Nine Dragons. If their holdings
were added together, the family would be No. 1 on the Forbes list.
Forbes noted that the average age of businesspeople on its China list
was 46.5, compared with 65.7 for the comparable US list.
China's top 40 richest include six women, compared with seven in the US
top 40, but the Chinese include self-made millionaires such as
Zhang, while the American women inherited their wealth, Forbes