Since the beginning of 2020 and the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the world’s richest 500 people have lost $1.3 trillion, or about 22% of their total net worth, as experts predict that more than $4 trillion will be wiped out of the global economy. But not everyone’s losing.
In fact, nine of the world’s wealthiest people--all of them Chinese--have actually profited during the pandemic.
Shanghai-based Hurun Research said that nine of its Global Top 100 grew wealthier while 86 saw a fall in their assets and five have come out with no losses and no gains.
The report said that the surge in demand for medical equipment, videoconferencing and online education in the last three months has increased the wealth of a number of Chinese billionaires by as much as 77%.
Xu Hang, the founder of Shenzhen Mindray Bio-Medical Electronics, which has the fortune to produce ventilators among other medical equipment, saw its assets jump by 26% to $13.5 billion. It helps to win contracts to supply devastated countries like Italy with thousands of pieces of equipment.
Another major COVID winner has been Liu Yonghao, the founder of pork producer New Hope, whose wealth grew 20% to $15 billion. Likewise, family-owned Chinese pork giant Muyuan Foods added $3billion to their wealth.
Outside the top ranks is China-born California resident Eric S. Yuan, chief executive of video conferencing company Zoom Video Communications, whose visa application was reportedly denied by the U.S. government eight times.
His wealth rose by 77% to $8 billion over the two months. The company’s revenue grew 88% to $622.7 million. That’s because the coronavirus has given it over 60% growth in new customers.
But the Zoom boom is not without its caveats. The FBI warned last week of a new potential privacy and security concern called "Zoombombing."
Meanwhile, Forbes reports that 389 Chinese citizens have made Forbes World’s Billionaires list--an increase from 324 last year and 372 the year before. Collectively, these billionaires are worth $1.2 trillion, up from $982 billion in 2019 (not including Hong Kong and Macao).
TikTok founder Zhang Yiming also made the Top 10 list, as did real estate tycoon Hui Ka Yan.
Perhaps the biggest COVID culling was for Wang Jianlin, an entertainment titan who has lost nearly $9 billion on the economic lockdown.
Jack Ma, cofounder of giant Alibaba with a net worth of $38.8 billion, again holds the top spot as Chinese richest person--a spot he had relinquished last year to Tencent’s Ma Huateng.
Back in the United States, while billionaires are shedding net worth rapidly, and the Bloomberg Billionaires Index shows the world’s richest 500 people lost $1.3 trillion since the start of 2020, again, there is at least one big winner:
Amazon is now cleaning up nicely. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Jeff Bezos’ net worth has actually climbed by nearly $6 billion so far this year. That makes him the only billionaire not on the losing end of things, year-to-date.
By Josh Owens for Safehaven.com
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