This year has seen the biggest wealth increase in the 22-year history of the Hurun China Rich List, according to researcher Rupert Hoogewerf, the founder of Hurun Report and ‘godfather’ of the rating. The list includes the wealthiest people in China – those whose fortunes exceed two billion yuan, or nearly $300 million.

“Stock markets booming and a flurry of new listings have minted five new dollar billionaires in China a week for the past year. The world has never seen this much wealth created in just one year,” Hoogewerf said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Chinese super-rich featured on the list increased their fortunes by $1.5 trillion this year – roughly half the size of Britain’s gross domestic product (GDP). The billionaires now own a combined fortune of $4 trillion, more than the gross domestic product of Germany, the world’s fourth-biggest economy, the report says.

This year’s edition of the China Rich List also highlights that “new economy” sectors like e-commerce and fintech are gaining momentum. Over one third of the wealthiest people in China made money from those industries, while 64 percent generated cash from traditional sectors like manufacturing and real estate.

Founder and former head of online retail giant Alibaba, Jack Ma, retained the top spot for the third consecutive year. His net worth has nearly doubled to $58.8 billion, with his new fintech platform Ant preparing for a blockbuster IPO and Alibaba recording a strong performance.

Two other billionaires – the CEO of internet giant Tencent, Pony Ma, and the founder of popular bottled water brand Nongfu, Zhong Shanshan – also made it into the top three. The trio runs almost neck and neck, the report noted, as Pony Ma’s and Zhong Shanshan’s fortunes amount to $57.4 billion and $53 billion respectively – but Jack Ma took the official top spot on the China Rich List.

The trend of the rich getting richer during the pandemic is not exclusive to China. Many of the world’s wealthiest individuals did extremely well during the crisis, especially those who control the tech sector that flourished amid lockdowns.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

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