Tencent’s Ma now China’s richest, as wealthiest lawmakers see fortunes grow: Hurun

Tencent Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Pony Ma Huateng.

The richest members of China’s parliament and its advisory body have grown even richer, according to an organisation tracking wealth in China.

Led by Ma Huateng, chairman of tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd, with a net worth of 295 billion yuan ($46 billion), the top 100 representatives had a total net worth of 3.91 trillion yuan, the Shanghai-based Hurun Report said on Friday.

Their total wealth rose by one-third over the 12 months to Jan. 31, according to Reuters’ calculations based on Hurun’s data.

While Chinese President Xi Jinping has led a crackdown on corruption and made the fight against poverty a priority, representatives of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) include some of the communist-ruled country’s wealthiest businessmen.

Hurun identified 153 delegates as each being worth 2 billion yuan or more, the lowest number in five years. But although the total numbers of the super-rich in the two government bodies was down, their combined wealth at 4.12 trillion yuan was nearly 18 per cent higher than the total wealth of rich lawmakers last year.

The strong property market boosted the wealth of a number of representatives, including Xu Jiayin, chairman of developer China Evergrande Group, whose net worth leapt 242 per cent to 260 billion yuan.

Those making their first appearance as lawmakers include leaders of some of China’s big internet firms such as Netease Chief Executive William Ding, JD.com Chairman Richard Liu, and security software company Qihoo’s CEO, Zhou Hongyi.

The NPC and CPPCC start their annual sessions in Beijing next week. While all Chinese over the age of 18 are technically allowed to vote for delegates and stand for election to the NPC, most delegates are hand-picked by local-level officials.