China's 'Silicon Valley' goes beyond New York as home for billionaires

HONG KONG-- Three years back, American business owner Raj Oswal traveled to the Chinese city of Shenzhen on behalf of a client. He was so satisfied that he stayed and began his own tech business.

" You can't discover a lot of other cities in China or around Asia that really embrace innovation as Shenzhen does," Oswal said, comparing his move there from California to his daddy's choice in the 1970s to leave India so he could pursue his studies and a career in the United States..

Oswal described Shenzhen, a city of 17.5 million on China's southern border with Hong Kong, as a location filled with "younger optimism.".

Progressively, it's also filled with cash. The former fishing village, now a tech hub called China's Silicon Valley, has actually joined Beijing and Shanghai as the world's top three cities for billionaires, edging out New York for the first time this year.

According to the Hurun Global Rich List, a yearly ranking assembled by a personal Shanghai-based business, Beijing is home to the world's greatest variety of billionaires at 144, followed by Shanghai with 121. There are 113 billionaires in Shenzhen, compared with 110 in New York, while London can be found in 5th with 101.The growing concentration of wealth isn't news to people in Shenzhen, which added 8 billionaires since last year.

" It's almost more of a wake-up call for the remainder of the world," stated Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman and chief scientist of Hurun Report, the company behind the list.

While rankings can change, he stated the rising number of billionaires in Shenzhen showed a "megatrend" that will draw more young business owners to the city in coming years.

" It is a substantial sign of where Shenzhen has actually originated from and where it is going," he stated.

Shenzhen's increase began in 1980, when it was called China's first special financial zone as part of the nation's "reform and opening up" under then-leader Deng Xiaoping. That enabled the city to experiment with market capitalism in an effort to attract foreign investment. From 1979 to 2021, Shenzhen's gross domestic product grew from less than $28 million to practically $475 billion.

Today, the city is home to some of China's biggest tech business, consisting of telecom giant Huawei and the internet corporation Tencent, inspiring others to follow. In 2015, 2,500 brand-new state-recognized state-of-the-art business were set up in Shenzhen, bringing the overall number to 17,000, according to the city government.Shenzhen is the head office of some of China's most significant tech companies, including internet giant Tencent. 

It is likewise part of what China calls the Greater Bay Area, an integrated economic and business center that intends to connect Shenzhen with eight other cities in Guangdong province together with the Chinese areas of Hong Kong and Macau.

The chances appeared to Oswal even as he taxied from the Shenzhen airport after he initially arrived in 2019.

" All the stereotypes that I had on Chinese cities were broken down one by one with the changing modern and green city landscape along the road," he stated.

Heng Chen, an associate teacher of economics at the University of Hong Kong, stated Shenzhen's momentum was helped by its welcoming environment for business owners.

" The structure of the population is still really young compared to other very cities or first-tier cities in China, so that's one of the reasons it's a very appealing place," he said.In addition, government officials in Shenzhen "commit a great deal of resources, financial resources to attract top talents from the rest of the world.".

But the city has actually likewise dealt with steep difficulties during the coronavirus pandemic, particularly in recent weeks as China battles its worst break out in two years. The government's zero-tolerance strategy relies on border closures, mass screening and rigorous lockdowns, and the constraints have triggered delays at Shenzhen's factories in addition to its port, one of the biggest in the world.

Throughout a weeklong lockdown in Shenzhen last month, authorities offered Apple supplier Foxconn Technology Group approval to reboot some manufacturing operations utilizing a "closed-loop" system that required employees to stay on site.

Despite the financial pressures of the pandemic, China's economy has continued to grow "partly because Chinese cities are extremely flexible," stated Shang-Jin Wei, an economics teacher at Columbia Business School and a former chief economist at the Asian Development Bank. "They can adjust to brand-new circumstances.".

Wei likewise said Shenzhen uses beneficial policies to modern business, such as tax breaks.According to Hurun Report, since Jan. 14 there were 3,381 billionaires worldwide, a net boost of 153 since last year, and their overall wealth increased 4 percent to $15.2 trillion. Of those, 1,133 remain in China and 716 in the U.S. China surpassed the U.S. in terms of variety of billionaires in 2016.

However China's billionaires have likewise been "hit hard" in the past year, the report said, amidst a regulatory crackdown on innovation, education and other markets and the government's "common prosperity" project promoting more even distribution of wealth.

China lost 160 billionaires in the past year, more than any other nation. Colin Huang, founder of e-commerce platform Pinduoduo, experienced the best loss of wealth at $50 billion as shares of his Nasdaq-listed business plunged. Xu Jiayin, chairman of embattled home developer Evergrande Group, lost more than $23 billion as his business continues to miss out on bond payment due dates.

Zhong Shanshan, the founder of mineral water and beverage business Nongfu Spring, stays China's richest individual with $72 billion in wealth. ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming, whose business owns the video app TikTok, is 2nd with $54 billion. Just behind him is Zeng Yuqun, creator of electric-vehicle battery maker CATL, who deserves $53 billion.

Pony Ma, chief executive of Tencent, fell out of China's top 3 most affluent people for the very first time since 2015. 

Pony Ma of Tencent and Jack Ma of innovation giant Alibaba, two of China's greatest names in business, both dropped out of China's top three wealthiest people for the first time since 2015. Pony Ma fell to fourth on the list as his wealth shrank to $52 billion, followed by Jack Ma with $37 billion.

There are no Chinese billionaires in the global top 10, which is led by Tesla and SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk with a net worth of more than $200 billion. Hoogewerf said that is partly because Chinese billionaires tend to run companies with a domestic, rather than global, focus.

Indian telecoms tycoon Mukesh Ambani was the only Asian on a top 10 list otherwise dominated by the U.S. and France. But he has been alternating the title of Asia's wealthiest individual with Indian facilities mogul Gautam Adani. The two guys, who according to Hurun Report each have a net worth of about $100 billion, were likewise neck and neck on the Forbes list of the world's billionaires that was released today, coming in at No. 10 and 11.

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