Technology disrupted Real Estate’s claim as the industry with the most billionaires, according to the recently released Hurun Global Rich List for 2014. The list — China’s answer to the Forbes Billionaire List — compared the assets of 1,867 billionaires in 68 countries.
The difference in actual numbers is negligible — Technology, Media and Telecom (TMT) industries has 257 billionaires while Real Estate has 253 — but the change over the last year is significant. TMT grew by 57 billionaires while Real Estate grew by 34.
The tech industry certainly had the flashiest entrance of newcomer billionaires. Jan Koum, the founder of WhatsApp (@WhatsApp), became a billionaire overnight after he sold his company to Facebook for $19 billion. Another overnight billionaire on the list is Jack Dorsey, the cofounder of Twitter, whose company was valued at $25 billion after its stunning IPO last November. Also on the list are SnapChat (@snapchat) co-founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, who turned down a $3 billion-offer from Facebook last October.
Despite the rise of tech, Real Estate is still a magnet for billionaires with the second most of any industry. Although China’s Real Estate industry has slowed in recent years, it still hosts seven of the top 10 Real Estate billionaires in the world, including the top four.
The wealthiest mogul on the Real Estate list, and the richest person in Asia for the third year in a row, is Li Ka-shing of the Hong Kong companies Cheung Kong and Hutchison Whampoa, with a net worth of $33 billion.
Wang Jianlin of Wanda Company had the most impressive growth with 100 percent year-over-year increase that doubled his net worth to $22 billion.
Lee Shau Kee and Robert Kuok placed third and fourth on the list despite experiencing significant declines in their net worth. Shau Kee clocked in with a net worth of $21 billion while Robert Kuok dropped to $16 billion.
Donald Bren of the Irvine Company is the only American who made the top 10 of the Real Estate list, ranking fifth with a net worth of $16 billion.
In sixth place is Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor and Family, owners of property in the posh Belgravia neighborhood of London, is Britain’s wealthiest Real Estate company with a net worth of $11 billion.
The enormous Chirathivat clan controls most of Thailand’s premium Real Estate. The family has a net worth of $10.5 billion, putting them in seventh. The formidable Yang Huiyan saw steady increases in the profitability of her property company Country Garden. She and her family have a net worth of approximately $8.2 billion, putting them in eighth.
In the ninth and 10th spots were Joseph Lau and Lin Yu-Lin, with net worth’s of $8 billion and $7.5 billion.
Here are some of the other findings in the report:
- The cumulative wealth of all 1,867 billionaires is approximately $6.9 trillion, which is greater than the GDP of Japan.
- 26 billionaires are under 40, and the youngest, SnapChat co-founder Evan Spiegel, is 23.
- The report estimated that there are roughly 4,500 “dollar” billionaires around the globe.
- Bill Gates overtook Carlos Slim as the richest man in the world.