Ma Huateng, also known as Pony Ma. (Photo/CNS)
Ma Huateng or Pony Ma, founder and boss of Chinese internet giant Tencent, has overtaken Baidu CEO Robin Li as the richest IT billionaire in China for the first time in four years, according to the Hurun Research Institute, which charts the assets of the country's wealthiest people. The assets of these IT billionaires have grown the fastest among the wealthy Chinese individuals that Hurun surveyed this year, according to the Sichuan News Network.
The 42-year-old Ma, top of the list with a fortune of 56 billion yuan (US$9.1 billion), was followed by Li with 46 billion yuan (US$7.5 billion). Jiang Bin, chairman of Goertek, an electronic acoustic component maker and a major Apple supplier, entered the top three for the first time with 32 billion yuan (US$5.2 billion).
The number of IT billionaires increased by 20% this year and their average wealth increased by 51% to 10.7 billion yuan (US$1.7 billion). The threshold for membership of the group was also raised by 46% to 3.5 billion yuan (US$572 million). The average wealth and the threshold are 20 and 35 times higher than the figures a decade ago.
Among the ten wealthiest IT billionaires, Jia Yaoting, CEO of video website LeTV, saw more than 100% growth in his personal fortune from last year. Jia is the only newcomer in the group this year as LeTV was crowned the fastest growing online video website for two consecutive years and the number of its users increased by a staggering 255.6% last year.
Jiang Bin and his family own a 53% stake in Goertek, which has benefited from surging smartphone sales in the country. As of the first half of this year, its total assets reached 10.17 billion yuan (US$1.6 billion), 14.5 times higher than in 2008.
The wealth of Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun grew the fastest among all the IT billionaires at 504% this year. The Chinese smartphone maker sold over 7.03 million phones over the first half of this year, which brought in 13.27 billion yuan (US$2.1 billion) of revenue.
Compared to the list of IT billionaires Hurun compiled ten years ago, six of the 50 billionaires were still on the list this year. Among them, the wealth of Robin Li, former Alibaba chairman Jack Ma and Ma Huateng grew the fastest, increasing by 115 times, 92 times and 80 times respectively. Ding Lei, founder and CEO of NetEase, and Chen Tianqiao, cofounder of Shanda Interactive Entertainment, were "only" able to triple their their wealth over the same period.
The average age of the billionaires is 48 years old, four years younger than last year. The youngest among them is Liu Qingdong, the 39-year-old CEO of shopping website 360buy.
Jiang Bin 薑濱
Jia Yaoting 賈躍亭
Lei Jun 雷軍
Liu Qingdong 劉強東
Robin Li 李彥宏
Jack Ma 馬雲
Ma Huateng 馬化騰
Ding Lei 丁磊
Chen Tianqiao 陳天橋