Forbes: China’s 400 Richest

Forbes has published its latest list of China’s 400 richest people:

A quick comparison of our new Forbes China Rich List with that of the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans, published in September, appears to tell a familiar story. China’s 400 Richest are worth a record $314 billion, but that is just one-fourth the total net worth of their American counterparts. China’s richest person, BYD’s Wang Chuanfu, has a net worth of $5.8 billion, far below the $50 billion fortune belonging to America’s richest citizen, Microsoft’s Bill Gates. In the U.S., Wang would only rank no. 40, tied with petroleum magnate Harold Hamm.

At the top this year is Wang Chuanfu:

Wang Chuanfu’s wealth catapulted this year as it became clear that Beijing would go along with his plans to sell a 9.9% stake in BYD, his Hong Kong-listed rechargeable battery and auto manufacturing company, to Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy ( MDPWL.PK – news – people ).

The hope: BYD, which stands for “Build Your Dreams,” will emerge as a world leader in making electric cars, and Buffett will give him cachet in the U.S. and elsewhere. The reality: Wang, though basking in his Buffett deal and selling conventional sedans at a record pace of late in China, doesn’t yet have any electric models in commercial production. BYD’s stock has risen more than sixfold in the past seven months; its shares are trading at 97 times their 2008 earnings. Wang’s wealth has ballooned to $5.8 billion, compared with $1.06 billion a year ago.


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