William Ding Lei's fortune of US$900m made him China's richest man in a survey conducted by Asiamoney. The 32-year-old owns 52 per cent of software firm Netease.com, whose share price has risen from US$5 a year ago to a value of US$55 at the time when the list was compiled. The share price has risen further since then, taking his net worth to in excess of US$1bn. He replaced Larry Yung Chi-kin, chairman of Citic Pacific and son of 'red capitalist' Rong Yiren, who topped the list in 2002 and 2000. The Liu brothers, who run the Hope Group, were richest in 2001.
The cut-off point for inclusion in the rich list of 100 rose to US$110m from US$85m last year. The average age of the millionaires, 40 of whom were new faces, was 44, with a dozen younger than 37. Many had strong political connections, with one-third being members of the National People's Congress or the People's Political Consultative Conference. About one-quarter were thought to be members of the Communist Party.