- NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images
- There are more than 100 billionaires in China’s legislature and its top advisory body, including the CEOs of Tencent, JD.com, Baidu and Xiaomi.
- Their combined net worth is $624 billion, twice that of Ireland’s GDP.
- President Xi Jinping vowed to fix income inequality and eradicate poverty by 2020, a deadline that is two years away and 40 million people are still struggling.
A new global rich list has tallied 104 billionaires in the upper echelons of China’s leadership.
Released this week, research from Hurun Report, found China minted 206 billionaires in the last year, taking the country’s total to 819 billionaires 40% more billionaires than in the US.
But its the number of billionaires within senior arms of the Communist Party, according to more data from Hurun Report, that’s drawing attention.
The National People’s Congress (NPC), which serves as the country’s legislature and will be responsible for voting on scrapping presidential term limits in about two weeks, contains 45 billionaires.
And there are a whopping 59 billionaires in the party’s top advisory body, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. The CPPCC includes entrepreneurs, academics, and even celebrities, who advise the government and legislative arms.
While this only accounts for 2% of the roughly 5,000-odd members, their total net worth amounts to $624 billion. That’s more than double Ireland’s GDP, and more than three times that of New Zealand’s.
The billionaires includes the founder of one of China’s biggest online retailers JD.com, the CEO of smartphone maker Xiaomi, and the CEO of search giant Baidu. Also included in the National People’s Congress is the country’s richest man, Pony’ Ma, the CEO of Tencent, who is worth $47 billion.
With some workers lucky to earn a few hundred dollars a month, the net worth of these leaders illustrates China’s vast income inequality.
A third of the country’s wealth is owned by 1% of households, and 25% of the poorest households own just 1% of China’s wealth, according to a study from Peking University.
Since becoming president, Xi has spearheaded initiatives to double all 2010 incomes by 2020 – to make China a “moderately prosperous society” – and has also set that as the target year to eradicate all poverty.
And while state media has reported that millions of people now have better working and living conditions, 40 million people still live in poverty.