In the 2011 Forbes Billionaires List published last week, 115 mainland Chinese emerged, almost double that of last year's 64, putting the number of China's billionaires only second to that of the United States. Among the 115 Chinese billionaires, seven are Sichuanese, reported Sichuan Online and West China City Daily.
Pharmaceutical magnates Li Li and Liu Gexin and real-estate mogul Wang Jianlin join Liu Yongxing and Liu Yonghao (the Liu Brothers behind New Hope Dairy) on the list. The youngest and only Sichuanese billionaire below 40 is Xian Yang, who made his fortune on Panzhihua's coal mines. Zhu Linyao, also known as the Queen of Essence, is the sole female listed.
Li Li from Shenzhen Hepalink Pharmaceuticals
The 47-year-old founded Shenzhen Hepalink Pharmaceuticals, which supplies blood-thinning heparin to foreign markets, 11 years after graduating from Sichuan University. The listing of Hepalink in Shenzhen in May 2010 made Li and his wife the richest Chinese couple before stock prices fell in a flash. Read more about his venture here.
Liu Yongxing, New Hope Dairy
The 63-year-old is one of the four Liu brothers behind Sichuanese enterprise New Hope Dairy. Their rags-to-riches story began with them quitting their regular jobs and reselling watches and bicycles to raise the 1,000 yuan capital. In 1982, they started their own agribusiness while researching farm feed. Liu was the fifth richest mainland Chinese billionaire in 2005 with a net worth of 11.6 billion USD.
Wang Jianlin of Dalian Wanda Real Estate
Wang Jianlin, 57, heads the Dalian Wanda Real Estate Group. An ex-soldier, he worked for the government after graduating from Dalian University. Wang made his first foray into real estate in 1989. In 22 years, the four-time winner of the China Charity Award donated more than 27 billion yuan personally and through the company.
Queen of Essence, Zhu Linyao
Huabao International grew into a flavour and fragrance giant in Asia in just 12 years, thanks to Zhu Linyao's expertise, especially in forming partnerships with cigarette manufacturers. As a result of the 40-year-old's foresight, tobacco flavouring became the main contributor to Huabao's revenue, at 90 percent. She was featured in this list of the world's richest self-made women last year.
Liu Yonghao, New Hope Dairy
The 60-year-old CEO of the Sichuan New Hope Group of Companies is a legendary figure in China who attributes his success to the physical and mental training he underwent during the Cultural Revolution. Speaking at MBA discussions, he recalls that his youth spent in Xinjin County of Chengdu's outskirts gave him a good understanding of the farmers and the domestic market.
Xian Yang from Sichuan Hengding Industry Co.
At 38, CEO Xian Yang is Vice President of the Panzhihua City Youth Federation and sits on the Sichuan Industry and Commerce Committee. He founded Sichuan Hengding Industry Company (previously known as Panzhihua Sanlian Industry) in 2000, acquiring several coal-mining enterprises and developing chemical products. In just seven years, Hengding became southwest China's largest private coal company, entering the list of Top 100 Enterprises in Sichuan in 2005 and 2006.
Liu Gexin of Kelun Pharmaceuticals
Having spent the past 15 years building his medicinal empire, the sexagenarian is also a party official who has been awarded a title of honour for post-earthquake relief efforts.
In a recent report by Sichuan News Network and Chengdu Economic Daily, Liu Gexin has the most assets at 98 billion yuan worth of shares. The report also mentioned that among 81 Sichuan-listed companies, only 18 percent of the senior managerial staff own shares of the company. At Kelun Pharmaceuticals, Liu has six right-hand men, of which Assistant General Manager Liang Long, who holds the least shares, has a net worth of almost 4 billion yuan.
Chinese billionaires in the global scene
The 213 ethnic Chinese billionaires worldwide possess 567 billion U.S. dollars in all, at 13 percent of the wealth owned by all global billionaires, accounting for 18 percent of the number of global billionaires. Half of Chinese billionaires are from the mainland while 35 of them are from Hong Kong, 27 from Southeast Asia and 25 are Taiwanese. Seven Chinese billionaires are from the United States.
Surge in wealth driven by China's economic development
The rapid development of China's economy created conditions of wealth accumulation. In Taiwan, the electronics manufacturing and food and beverages industries has produced billionaires, such as Hon Hai Group's Terry Gou, Want Want's Tsai Eng-meng and the Wei family behind Ting Hsin International Group. The production plants and factories of these companies are located in the mainland, with more labour and output value than the Taiwanese-based plants. Similarly, Hong Kong's real estate developers are making China their main platform of interest.
Property investments most preferred by Chinese billionaires
The manufacturing, financial and real estate sectors are main sources of wealth for the rich Chinese, with around a quarter of them having made their fortune from property. In China, most billionaires come from the manufacturing, real estate and biomedical sectors whereas in Hong Kong, they mainly stem from the real estate and trade and investments sectors. China's urbanization offers an unprecedented feast of wealth for Chinese investors, said the Forbes' Chinese edition's Chief Editor Zhou Jiangong.