Here are the 10 wealthiest people in China — a country leading the way for self-made billionaires

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Here are the 10 wealthiest people in China — a country leading the way for self-made billionaires

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China's billionaire population is on the rise.

Today, the country is home to 10 percent of the world's almost 2,400 billionaires, according to the latest report from Wealth-X. But, perhaps more notably, a massive 94 percent of them are self-made.

Growth in China's technology, consumer retail and real estate sectors over the past five to 10 years have made it easier for entrepreneurs to build their fortune, marking a massive surge in the country's self-made billionaire population.

Just 2 percent of China's 249 billionaires are the product of inheritance, according to the report. Meanwhile, 4 percent have reached the 10-figure milestone through a combination of entrepreneurship and inheritance. The rest have earned it through grit and hard work.

The figure stands in stark contrast to the global average. Overall, just 55 percent of the world's billionaires are self-made, according to the intelligence agency's figures. Thirteen percent of the world's billionaires have gained their wealth through inheritance, while 32 percent have built it through a combination of inheritance and entrepreneurship.

What's more, China's billionaires are relatively younger than the global mean, with one-third aged under 50, compared to 14 percent globally. The average billionaire in China is 53-years-old while the average billionaire globally is aged 64.

China's billionaires include those responsible for some of the world's biggest companies. Here's a look at the top 10 wealthiest:

China's top 10 billionaires

10. Yan Jiehe

Yan Jiehe, founder of China Pacific Construction Group
Bloomberg | Getty
Yan Jiehe, founder of China Pacific Construction Group

Net worth: $14.1 billion

Founder, China Pacific Construction Group

Born the youngest of nine children, Yan's earliest memory is of going hungry, he told Fortune magazine in 2014. Like his parents, he began his career as a schoolteacher, before moving into the construction industry and launching China Pacific Construction Group in 1995.

9. Zhang Zhidong 

A microphone displays the Tencent Holdings logo during a news conference in Hong Kong.
Brent Lewin | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A microphone displays the Tencent Holdings logo during a news conference in Hong Kong.

Net worth: $15 billion

Co-founder, Tencent Holdings

Also known as Tony Zhang, Zhang was born in 1971 and met fellow Tencent co-founder Pony Ma while studying at Shenzen University. The duo, alongside three other co-founders, set up the internet company in 1998.

8. Lei Jun 

Lei Jun, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Xiaomi Inc., delivers a speech during a launch event at Beijing University of Technology on September 11, 2017 in Beijing, China.
VCG | Getty
Lei Jun, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Xiaomi Inc., delivers a speech during a launch event at Beijing University of Technology on September 11, 2017 in Beijing, China.

Net worth: $15.1 billion

Chairman, Xiaomi

Born in 1969, Lei studied computer science at Wuhan University and worked as an engineer before taking on senior positions in several technology companies. Then, in 2010, he co-founded smartphone manufacturer and software company Xiaomi.

7. Li Hejun 

Li Hejun
ChinaFotoPress | Getty Images
Li Hejun

Net worth: $15.5 billion

Chairman, Hanergy Holding Group

A mechanical engineering graduate, Li founded Hanergy in 1991 with 50,000 Yuan (around $8,000) borrowed from his college teacher, according to the company's website. Today, Hanergy is a world-leading renewable energy company.

6. Ding Lei 

Ding Lei, founder and CEO of netease.com, at the China Internet Conference 2011
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Ding Lei, founder and CEO of netease.com, at the China Internet Conference 2011

Net worth: $17.2 billion

CEO, NetEase

Ding is the founder of Chinese internet technology company NetEase, which provides online content, communications and commerce services. He launched the business in 1997 after studying electronic science and technology and working for a short time as an engineer.

5. Wang Jianlin 

Wang Jianlin, Chairman and President of Dalian Wanda Group Co., speaks during Suning smart retail development strategy press release and partnership agreement signing ceremony on December 19, 2017 in Nanjing, China.
China News Service | Getty
Wang Jianlin, Chairman and President of Dalian Wanda Group Co., speaks during Suning smart retail development strategy press release and partnership agreement signing ceremony on December 19, 2017 in Nanjing, China.

Net worth: $18.1 billion

Chairman, Dalian Wanda Group

Born in 1954, Wang served for sixteen years in China's People's Liberation Army before founding Dalian Wanda Group in 1988. Today, it is China's largest real estate development company. Wang also owns 20 percent of the Spanish football club Atletico Madrid.

4. Yang Huiyan 

Signage for the Forest City development is displayed at the reception of the Country Garden Holdings Co. property showroom in Iskandar Malaysia zone of Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
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Signage for the Forest City development is displayed at the reception of the Country Garden Holdings Co. property showroom in Iskandar Malaysia zone of Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia

Net worth: $20.7 billion

Vice Chairman, Country Garden Holdings

Chinese property developer Yang is the majority shareholder of Country Garden Holdings, a property development company set up by her father, Guoqiang Yang in 1992. She was named the richest woman in Asia in a 2015 Wealth-X report.

3. Hui Ka Yan

Hui Ka Yan, chairman of China Evergrande Group, speaks during a news conference in Hong Kong, China, on Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Bloomberg | Getty
Hui Ka Yan, chairman of China Evergrande Group, speaks during a news conference in Hong Kong, China, on Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Net worth: $27.5 billion

Chairman, Evergrande Real Estate Group

Hui Ka Yan, also known as Xu Jiayin, was born in a rural village in Henan province in 1958. After graduating from college, he worked as a technician in a steel factory for a decade before becoming chairman of Chinese real estate developer Evergrande Group.

2. Jack Ma

Jack Ma, co-founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.
Bloomberg | Getty
Jack Ma, co-founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

Net worth: $40.2 billion

Executive Chairman, Alibaba Group

Jack Ma was born in 1964 in Hangzhou, Zheijang province. He began his career as a teacher and famously suffered dozens of job rejections before launching Alibaba Group. Today, the company is the world's largest retailer and one of the largest technology companies globally.

1. Huateng Ma

Ma Huateng, chairman and chief executive officer of Tencent Holdings Ltd., speaks during the 2017 China International Big Data Industry Expo at Guiyang International Eco-Conference Center on May 28, 2017 in Guiyang, China.
Lintao Zhang | Getty
Ma Huateng, chairman and chief executive officer of Tencent Holdings Ltd., speaks during the 2017 China International Big Data Industry Expo at Guiyang International Eco-Conference Center on May 28, 2017 in Guiyang, China.

Net worth: $41.8 billion

Chairman, Tencent Holdings

The son of a port manager, Ma studied computer science at Shenzen University before starting his career in telecommunications. Known as Pony Ma, he launched Tencent alongside four college classmates in 1998, and now serves as its chairman and CEO.

Tencent is one of the largest internet companies in the world and counts social networks, e-commerce, payment systems and games among its services.

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