Declines in the domestic property and stock markets cost China’s top 50 richest people almost a third of their wealth in the last year, according to Hurun’s 2008 China Rich List. The average personal wealth of the top 50 fell to US$2.4 billion in 2008, down from US$3.6 billion a year earlier. It is the first decline since 2002, the Financial Times reported. However, Rupert Hoogewerf, compiler of the list, noted that China’s rich are weathering the financial storm much better than expected. The average wealth of the country’s 800 richest people fell by only 8% while the number of US dollar billionaires in China stands at 101, only five fewer than last year, Hoogewerf said. Huang Guangyu, chairman of electronics retailer Gome, heads the 2008 list with an estimated fortune of US$6.3 billion. Last year’s number one, real estate heiress Yang Huiyan, is down to third place. Her wealth declined to US$4.9 billion from US$17.5 billion.
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