The good thing about Chinese billionaires is the fact that most of them come from very humble backgrounds. Their ascension to their billion-dollar fortunes acts as an inspiration to many with the desire to make it in life. For instance, Wang Jianlin, China’s richest man and 15th richest man in the world, is a son of a Red Army captain. His family’s previous generations did not know anything about riches. However, after working in the army for some time as a soldier, he quit to start Wanda in the 1980s. Building Wanda by military discipline, his empire has grown from rugs to riches over the years. It goes to show that with discipline and determination, success is surely inevitable.
The list published by Forbes of China Rich, 2015 edition has a historic 335 billionaires from mainland China. The record number represents a huge increase of 93 or 38% compared to a year ago.
Take a look at the top 20 richest people in China:
20. Zhou Jianping – 55yrs
Net Worth: $5.5 Billion
Zhou Jianping sits at the top of Heilan Home, an apparel manufacturer and retailer. In 2015, Heilan added new stores, bringing its total to over 3,380. Zhou got into the business by outsourcing manufacturing to a textile factory based in Jiangsu using money earned from operating a photo studio. Today, his company trades at the Shanghai Stock Exchange.
19. Liu Yongxing – 67yrs
Net Worth: $5.6
Liu began raising quail with his brothers. Later on, their business grew into the Hope Group animal feed kingdom. Today, it is among the largest agribusinesses in the country. Liu’s brother is also a billionaire.
18. Zhou Qunfei – 46yrs
Net Worth: $5.9
Source: Smartphone glass covers
An IPO in March 2015 made Zhou Qunfei the richest woman tech founder in the world. She owns 88% of Lens Technology. Her company is a major producer of glass covers for tablets and mobile phones. Actually, it supplies Samsung and Apple. She has been in the glass industry since 1993 when she moved from a very poor rural life to become a factory worker in Shenzhen. As they say, the rest is history.
17. Jia Yueting – 43yrs
Net Worth: $6 Billion
Source: Online video
Jia chairs Leshi TV also known as Leshi Internet Information & Technology Beijing. He once worked as a tech support in a taxation office. He set up Sinotel earlier in his career. Sinotel is a wireless telecom company, which went public in 2008 in Singapore.
16. Chan Laiwa & Family – 75yrs
Net Worth: $6.2
Source: Real estate
Chan runs the Fu Wah International Group that is a real estate investor based in Beijing. Last year in September, the Beijing Construction Engineering Group and Fu Wah arrived at a tentative agreement with Wellington City Council to expand New Zealand’s Wellington International Airport. Such deals propel her company to greater financial heights.
15. Zhang Zhidong – 44yrs
Net Worth: $6.3
Source: Internet Media
Until his retirement at 43yrs, Zhang Zhidong was the CTO (Chief Technology Officer) of Tencent an Internet company, for 16 years. Zhang was a classmate of Ma Huateng — Tencent Founder — at the Shenzhen University. Zhange is Tencent’s second largest individual shareholder.
14. Wei Jianjun and Family – 52yrs
Net Worth: $6.4 Billion
Wei is the chair of Great Wall Motors a Chinese automaker that makes sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks. The company’s shares trade at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Great Wall Motors sells vehicles in the U.K, Peru, Iran, Chile, and Algeria.
13. Lu Guanqiu – 71yrs
Net Worth: $7 Billion
Since its inception, Lu’s Wanxiang Group has made huge strides. The group has managed to expand from its initial operations in auto parts to electric power, finance, and real estate. The conglomerate actively invests overseas. In August 2015 for instance, its U.S. subsidiary indicated its plans to work with U.S. billionaire John Pritzker in investing $1 billion in United States hotel projects.
12. Zong Qinghou – 70yrs
Net Worth: $7.3 Billion
Zong successfully turned his Hangzhou Wahaha Group into the country’s biggest homegrown seller of bottled milk, teas, and water drinks. He founded his company as a store within a school in 1987. Kelly, his daughter, is the group president and heir apparent.
11. Guo Guangchang – 49yrs
Net Worth: $7.3 Billion
Guo was detained by the Chinese authorities in order to assist in an unspecified investigation in a capture that grabbed international media attention. He reappeared at a company event just a few days later. Popularly known as ‘China’s Warren Buffet’, Guo has been changing his conglomerate Fosun International into an insurance centered investment group.
10. William Ding – 44yrs
Net Worth: $7.5 Billion
Source: Online games
William started out in 1997 as one of the country’s premier internet entrepreneurs. Today, he has changed his company into the largest mobile and online game companies in the world.
9. Liu Quiangdong – 41yrs
Net Worth: $7.8 Billion
Liu is the CEO, chair and founder of JD.com, a Chinese e-commerce firm. A major milestone in the company is when there was an announcement in July 2015 of collaboration with Taylor Swift to disposing clothes designed for the local market.
8. Hui Ka Yan – 57yrs
Net Worth: $8.7 Billion
Source: Real estate
Hui acts as the chairman of Evergrande Real Estate of Guangzou. This company is active in hotels, commercial and residential properties.
7. He Xiangjian – 73yrs
Net Worth: $9.3 Billion
Source: Home Appliances
6. Robin Li – 47yrs
Net Worth: $10.4 Billion
Source: Internet search
Baidu, Robin’s company is one of the main dominant forces in China’s internet landscape. Currently, Baidu is more involved in video platforms, e-commerce, as well as linking online users to services such as food delivery.
5. Wang Wenyin
Net Worth: $12.1 Billion
Source: Mining and Copper products
Wang leads Amer International, which is one of the largest suppliers of copper and cable products in the world. In 2014, the company reported sales worth $43.6 billion.
4. Lei Jun – 46yrs
Net Worth: $13.2 Billion
Heralded as the country’s Steve Jobs, Lei chairs and cofounded Xiaomi, one of the biggest Chinese smartphone makers. The company has diversified into India and Brazil in the recent past.
3. Ma Huateng – 44yrs
Net Worth: $17.6 Billion
Source: Internet Services
2. Jack Ma
Net Worth: $21.8 Billion
Jack Ma is the symbol of the country’s rise to the number spot in terms of Mobile phone and internet users. His company’s IPO in New York set the record as the largest public stock offering.
1. Wang Jianlin
Net Worth: $30 Billion
Source: Real estate
Wang tops this list. His Dalian Wanda Group has done it all–bought a soccer team, other companies, and even announced plans to purchase Legendary Entertainment, a U.S film, and TV production company.
There is no doubt that China is getting prosperous quickly. Today, many absurdly wealthy people exist in China. In 2004, the country only had three billionaires. In 2015, the number had increased to 213. Last year, China added a whopping 71 billionaires, which is by far the most by any country worldwide. The above are the twenty richest men in China according to the 2015 list released by Forbes with most of them coming from very humble beginnings.