Ma Huateng, 39-year old founder and CEO of Shenzhen-based Tencent
Betty Chen of Jing Daily breaks down the data from the inaugural Hurun “Young & Rich” list and discusses the increasing generation gap between wealthy Chinese
Last weekend, the Hurun Report released its first-ever list of young and wealthy Chinese in Shanghai at the opening of SIC Club Challenge ‘11, a supercar racing event organized by Unique Motorsport. Focusing on wealthy Chinese under the age of 40, the new list finds that there are 56 individuals in China with an official net worth of at least 1 billion yuan (US$191 million) and the average age of a young Chinese billionaire is 36.
Among the young billionaires listed by the Hurun Report, 44 started businesses from scratch, while only 12 inherited fortunes or estates. Ma Huateng, the 39-year old founder and CEO of Shenzhen-based Tencent, one of China’s largest and most popular Internet service portals, ranks at the top of the list with a fortune of 3.2 billion yuan ($4.9 billion).
Rounding out the top five on the list are Country Garden’s Yang Huiyan, Lin Zhiqiang of the San’an Group, Shanda Interactive Entertainment Limited’s Chen Tianqiao, and Tencent’s Zhang Zhidong. Among those who inherited fortunes or estates, Yang Huiyan tops the list. However, as the Hurun Report conceded, it’s very difficult to accurately calculate the fortunes inherited (or due to be inherited) by China’s so-called “rich second generation”.
“ the average age of a young Chinese billionaire is 36 ”
Hurun Report chairman and chief researcher Rupert Hoogewerf suggested that wealthy young Chinese are better educated, more promising and more cosmopolitan than their forebears. Almost everyone on the list graduated from college, with nearly 20 percent holding a master’s degree or higher.
In terms of the regional distribution of the young rich, Guangdong Province heads up the list, with 11 people. Shanghai ranks second, followed by Zhejiang Province. The highest proportion of people on the list, 15 individuals, started their careers in the IT and entertainment industries, followed by 13 working in the real estate industry and 10 in manufacturing. Still, more wealthy Chinese were minted last year in the real estate industry than any other.
Rupert Hoogewerf, Chairman and chief researcher of the Hurun Report
Additional findings of the report include the fact that three young billionaires are members of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). They include 38-year old Chen Tianqiao, 30-year old Li Zhaohui and 39-year old Liu Yingxia. 13 people on the list are female, and four of them inherited fortunes or estates.
The average age of people worth US$10 million in China is 39 years old, and most of their children are in primary school; the average age of those worth $100 million is 43 years old, and most of their children are in middle school; and the average age of dollar billionaires is 51 years old, and most of their children have already graduated from college.
In terms of education, most people on the list favor English-speaking countries for their children, with the US and UK their top choices for overseas education. More notable this year, the number of wealthy Chinese choosing to educate their children in Switzerland has increased significantly. Although many Chinese parents have sent their children to study in Australia in recent decades, the number of wealthy and ultra-wealthy Chinese choosing to do so has declined. Additionally, the survey found that most young multi-millionaires and billionaires are more inclined to send their children to study abroad at a younger age, for high school or even primary education.
“ there are 56 individuals in China with an official net worth of at least 1 billion yuan (US$191 million) ”
Compared with the “rich first generation,” the rich second generation is more international in terms of educational background and vision. In terms of majors, 60 percent of people are more interested in business-related majors like finance, international trade and business administration, followed by science, arts and engineering.
Unsurprisingly, the Hurun Report found that the rich second generation is not only more global than their parents, they’re also much more fashionable. They’re more aware of luxury brands and the high-end lifestyle than their parents due to a wide range of information channels, including the Internet and friends, as well as their experience studying and living abroad. According to survey findings, the living standard of the rich second generation is significantly higher than ordinary white-collar workers in China, with nearly 20 percent of them spending 20,000 yuan ($3,074) per month, of which business related expenses account for almost 40 percent.
More than half of the rich second generation are passionate about creating their own businesses, with those from Guangdong Province displaying a distinct entrepreneurial streak. Guangdong respondents overwhelmingly said they prefer creative industries over traditional industries, and are interested in investing in industries like IT, trade and textiles.
In terms of fundraising, the Hurun Report found that most young entrepreneurs generally get initial start-up capital, usually anywhere from 500,000-1 million yuan (US$76,900-154,000), from friends.