Foreign car brands may dominate the Chinese auto market, but Chinese car companies’ billionaire owners aren’t doing too badly, according to a new report. In time for this weekend’s Beijing Auto Show, the Hurun Report published findings that Chinese billionaires dominate the list of the richest people in the global car industry.
Out of a list of the 45 richest billionaires working in a sector related to automobiles, roughly one-fourth of the members are Chinese entrepreneurs. Out of these 11 billionaires, Wei Jianjun of Great Wall Motors is the richest, with a rank of 5th on the total list and an estimated net worth of US$7.6 billion. In the past year, he has seen a 67 percent increase in wealth. “I was surprised to see that Chinese billionaires lead the world’s car industry,” said Hurun Report Chairman and Chief Researcher Rupert Hoogewerf.
Other Chinese auto billionaires include Lu Guanqiu, the founder of Fisker producer Wanxiang, and Wang Chuanfu of Daimler joint venture partner BYD. While none of the brands listed have the biggest joint venture partnerships with foreign brands, Li Shufu of Volvo owner Geely is fifth on the list of top China car industry billionaires.
The report states that half of those on the list made their money from car brands, 36 percent did so from car retailing, and the rest earned their fortunes from car parts. The only Chinese person on the list to inherit his wealth was Kenneth Yen of Yulon. The average age of these billionaires is 54, which is 10 years younger than Hurun’s global rich list.
While China dominates the list by percentage, there are no other Chinese billionaires in the list of the top 10 other than Wei. However, that doesn’t mean that China hasn’t played a role in the fortunes of those in the top 10—executives at China-dependent companies including BMW, Jaguar Land Rover, and Mercedes are all on the main list of the world’s top car industry billionaires.