Jack Ma dethroned as China’s richest man

Jack Ma
Rubin Sprich | Reuters
Jack Ma

Alibaba founder Jack Ma has been knocked off his perch as China's richest man by "new energy king" Li Hejun, according to the Hurun's 2015 Global Rich List.

Li, the chairman of China's largest privately-owned clean-energy company, Hanergy Holdings, is now the country's richest man, with a net worth of $26 billion. Last year, he held the third spot.

His wealth has ballooned thanks to a surge in shares of Hanergy Holdings' Hong Kong listed subsidiary, Hanergy Thin Film Power Group, which rallied over 255 percent in 2014. The firm, however, recently came under scrutiny for alleged unconventional accounting practices.

"'New Energy King' Li Hejun becomes the twelfth Number One China has had in the past 16 years, underlying once again the dynamism of the Chinese economy. In that same period, Bill Gates has been the only Number One in the U.S.," said Rupert Hoogewerf, Chairman and Chief Researcher of Hurun Report.

'Alibaba is still a great long term story': Pro
'Alibaba is still a great long term story': Pro   

Ma, meantime, slipped two places to take the third place, with a personal fortune of $24.5 billion.

Ma, who is also the world's 34th wealthiest individual, recently told CNBC that being China's richest man was a "great pain."

"People say, 'Well Jack, rich people is good.' Yeah it is good, but not the richest man in China. It's a great pain because when you're (the) richest person in the world, everybody (is) surrounding you for money," he said.

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In the second spot, unchanged from last year, was Wang Jianlin, chairman of conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, boasting personal wealth of $25 billion.

Outside of China

Globally, Bill Gates held on to his crown as the world's richest man with a net worth of $85 billion, ahead of Carlos Slim and Warren Buffett, who ranked second and third, respectively.

Hurun's Global Rich List is a ranking of the world's billionaires. In the 2015 edition, 2,089 billionaires from 68 countries were ranked, up 222 from the previous year, tracking the rise in the world's billionaire population.

"Tech has been leading the way again for new billionaires. It's all eyes on the new economy," Hoogewerf said.

Chinese and U.S. individuals dominated, making up around half the rich list, according to Hurun.

Although the list expanded by 222 individuals, the total wealth dropped by 1.5 percent to US$6.7 trillion. Nevertheless, this is still more than the gross domestic product (GDP) of Japan and South Korea combined, Hurun said.