It’s official now that Jack Ma, chairman of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd., is a member of the Communist Party. He’s also the richest of a growing gaggle of high-net-worth individuals in China, who between them control $6.5 trillion. The story of how China’s Communist Party, long an opponent of capitalist ideology, created one of history’s greatest breeding grounds for personal wealth begins four decades ago when then party patriarch Deng Xiaoping introduced reforms that would drastically transform the country into the world’s second-biggest economy.
1. How many billionaires does China have?
The Bloomberg Billionaires Index tracks the wealth of the 500 richest individuals globally, 38 of whom are Chinese. More broadly, global wealth research firm Wealth-X found that of the world’s 2,754 billionaires, 680 (25 percent) were in the U.S. and 338 (12 percent) were in China. UBS Group AG estimates a new billionaire is minted in China every two days.