IT upstages realty in the household wealth stakes [China Daily: Hong Kong Edition]
(China Daily: Hong Kong Edition Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Information technology has replaced real estate as the top source of wealth in China this year, amid a housing market slump, said an industry report released on Monday.
The China's Top Richest 3,000 Families List, published by Moneyweek, shows that the top three individuals in terms of wealth are from the Internet sector and are well ahead of their peers from the property sector.
The report said that the Internet industry has become a sweet spot for investment as it has remapped the industrial and competition structure and also changed the way how people live.
Ma Huateng (Pony Ma), chairman and CEO of Tencent Holdings Ltd, China's largest Internet company by revenue, was ranked the richest man in the country, as his family's wealth doubled to 100.68 billion yuan ($16.24 billion) from last year. IT magnate Li Yanhong (Robin Li), the founder of the search engine giant Baidu Inc, also saw his family wealth rise more than 100 percent to 85.38 billion yuan, while Liu Qiangdong (Richard Liu), founder of e-commerce company JD.com Inc, was ranked third with wealth of 48.38 billion yuan.
The growing penetration rate of smartphones has made mobile Internet the new growth engine for wealth in China. WeChat, an instant messaging service owned by Tencent, has attracted many investors to log on to the market potential of its 600 million users and triggered a 90 percent rise in the company's share prices last year
The property sector, which used to be a key driver of wealth last year, has fallen from its top perch as the government's mortgage and sales restrictions and soaring housing prices have curbed demand for property.
The number of rich individuals from the property sector has shrunk from 24 to 12 this year in the rankings. Only nine families from the real estate sector have crossed the wealth threshold of 10 billion yuan this year, while the figure was 12 in 2013.
In stark contrast, other sectors, including computers, media and entertainment as well as bio-pharmaceuticals have seen rather strong wealth growth fueled by China's A-share market.
More than 1,000 families coming from the computer application and devices sector have created wealth of about 300 billion yuan in the stock market, led by Xue Xiangdong, founder of DHC Software Co Ltd, the report said.
In media and entertainment, about 200 billion yuan of wealth has been generated by more than 300 families.
Experts said the IT industry and other advanced technology-led industries becoming the new source of wealth instead of real estate and manufacturing is a good sign for the Chinese economy, as it will help prevent a housing bubble and at the same time support economic restructuring.
(China Daily 07/22/2014 page13)
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