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Rich pickings in China’s wealth rankings

There are more billionaires in China than anywhere else. Unsurprisingly, Chinese universities are now ranked by how many they produce.
This article is more than 6 years old

Paul Greatrix is Registrar at The University of Nottingham, author and creator of Registrarism and a Contributing Editor of Wonkhe.

It’s always a pleasure to engage with league table compilers and I was particularly pleased recently to hear Rupert Hoogewerf speak about the work he had done on China’s rich lists via his organisation Hurun.

Speaking at the recent University of Nottingham University Executive Tri-Campus Away Days at our Ningbo Campus Mr Hoogewerf shared some surprising information about China’s super-rich.

A couple of highlights:
  • the number of dollar billionaires has increased in China by six times since the financial crash
  • women in China do much better in terms of wealth rankings compared with those in the West (see this for example) 
  • there are more billionaires in China than anywhere else
  • education is the number 1 recipient of billionaire philanthropy in China

It was this last point which particularly intrigued me over five years ago about a ranking of rich Chinese alumni by university, so it was interesting to return to this to find out how things have moved on. This is the current list:

Billionaires eh?

This example of one of China’s richest couples donating a large sum to Caltech for neuroscience research is typical:

Central to the initiative is the creation of the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience at Caltech, where research investigations will span a continuum, from deciphering the basic biology of the brain to understanding sensation, perception, cognition, and human behavior, with the goal of making transformational advances that will inform new scientific tools and medical treatments.

The Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute at Caltech will be supported through the Chens’ investment, which includes endowed funds to be used at the discretion of Caltech’s leadership to support activities such as seeding new lines of research and supporting promising early-career faculty and scholars. In addition, as part of the neuroscience initiative, Caltech will construct a $200 million biosciences complex named in honor of the Chens that will include state-of-the-art facilities for the Chen Institute at Caltech.

Hurun, which is the name of this venture, was established by Hoogewerf (a Durham alum) 20 years ago and has branched out into a range of other rankings including:

  • UK luxury brands in China
  • India’s philanthropists
  • Richest Chinese artists
  • Property rich list
Together with plenty more reports on wealth and the wealthy. Ideal if you want to follow the money.

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