The Hurun Report, a leading luxury publishing group out of Shanghai, China, has published its annual list of the world’s wealthiest individuals. One of this year’s rising stars is “Pony” Ma Huateng, the founder of Tencent, who is now reportedly the richest man in China.
Tencent was founded in 1998 and rose to prominence with the QQ messaging platform and WeChat, which is now pervasive on mainland China. The last half-decade has seen Tencent make aggressive investments in the western games industry. That includes the purchase of League of Legends developer Riot Games, and an investment in Activision Blizzard, Epic Games and Supercell. Tencent even made a significant investment in developer and publisher Paradox, and has partnered with PUBG Corp. to publish PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds in China. The megacorporation also has a Steam competitor called WeGame.
Ma rose from 39th place on the Hurun Report last year to tie for 15th place this year. That puts him tied with Robson Walton, the oldest son of Sam Walton who is the founder of Walmart. Their personal net worth is estimated at over $47 billion each.
Incidentally, Ma is only a billion shy of moving into 11th place, currently occupied by two more Walton children as well as Charles and David Koch.
Hurun publishes an annual magazine that caters to the super rich. It’s basically trying to activate them as any other marketing company would seek to activate “influencers;” it’s just that these particular influencers control a vast portion of the world’s wealth.
Other takeaways from this year’s report include the fact that China now has 819 billionaires compared to the United States’ 571. Combined, the world’s 2,694 richest people as a group accumulated 31 percent more wealth last year than they had the year before. That’s equivalent to 13.2 percent of the global gross domestic product, or the value of all the work performed by all the people on the planet. Hurun described that increase as “staggering.”