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The backstory: China has the most billionaires in the world, followed by the US. The two countries have produced 55% of the world's "known" billionaires, according to Hurun's 2022 Global Rich List. But COVID, a tech crackdown, geopolitical tensions and financial tightening worldwide have hit the uber-rich where it hurts – the wallet.
More recently: 2022 was a pretty tough year for the stock market. Over the year to end January, the S&P 500 took a hit of over 14%, while the Shanghai Composite index lost almost 11%. One of the reasons was the Fed's aggressive interest rate hikes to fight inflation, leading to China's yuan falling by 8% against a strong dollar. On top of that, the pandemic created a lot of challenges for China's economy. With borders closed and cities locked down, the country saw a growth rate of only 3% in 2022.
The development: The latest M3M Hurun Global Rich List showed that China's super-rich population dropped by more than 14%. The number of US-dollar billionaires in China fell by 164 to 969. Meanwhile, the US only saw a loss of 25 billionaires.
But, even though the country lost the most moguls, China still leads the pack with the highest number of billionaires worldwide. It's bad news for the 229 Chinese billionaires that didn't make the cut for this year's report. But China added the most new billionaires, with 69 fresh faces joining the club.
"The number of billionaires in the world is down by 8%, whilst their total wealth dropped 10%," said Rupert Hoogewerf, founder and chairman of the Hurun Report. According to him, the number of people on the list decreased from 3,381 last year to 3,112 this year.
"This past year has been tumultuous for wealth creation," said the report. While China was still the "world capital for billionaires," the total wealth of the country's richest plunged by 15%.