As you’ve probably heard, China has gotten really rich, really fast.
You can see it in the number of absurdly wealthy people the People’s Republic now holds.
According to GQ, which analysed the Hurun list of Chinese billionaires, there were three billionaires in China in 2004.
By 2014, there were 354.
That’s an 11,700% increase.
America still has the most billionaires at 492. But the American growth rate is much slower than China’s. The US had 274 billionaires in 2004, representing an increase of about 80% in the past decade.
The swelling of the ultra-rich ranks comes from a range of factors. China is now a place of high-growth startups, the most splashy of which is Jack Ma’s Alibaba, which had a history-making IPO last year — to the point that Ma made more money than anybody else in 2014. Like many of the world’s super wealthy, the new class of Chinese money springs from real estate, private business ownership, and finance.