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Construction tycoon tops rich list

(China Daily)

08:54, September 08, 2011

SHANGHAI - The Sany Group's founder Liang Wengen is China's richest man with a fortune of 70 billion yuan ($11 billion), according to the Hurun Rich List 2011.

The list, released by the Hurun Research Institute on Wednesday, showed that the nation's most affluent group continued to expand rapidly this year, buoyed by China's unceasing construction boom and growing retail market.

It has been a record year for China's rich, despite the ongoing difficulties of the world economy.

The number of US dollar billionaires on the list shot up to 271 from 189 last year and 130 in 2009.

The cut-off point to make the top 1,000 on the Hurun list jumped to $310 million, compared with $220 million last year and $150 million in 2009. The average wealth hit $924 million.

"China's rich have defied the global financial crisis with another record year of growth," said Rupert Hoogewerf, the institute's chairman and chief researcher.

Another driver for the growth in wealth has been a large number of successful stock market listings.

Twenty-nine individuals in the top 50 count property as one of their main sources of wealth.

The super-rich are well-connected too, the report said. About one-third of those in the top 50 are delegates to the National People's Congress or Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, or are senior Party members.

With China's construction explosion showing few signs of slowing, Liang's heavy construction equipment is in strong demand and his Sany Group has come a long way since its founding in 1989 as a small welding materials factory in central China's Hunan province.

Liang's $11 billion fortune is based on his 58 percent stake in Sany, which currently contains two listed companies. The 55-year-old plans to go public with the entire operation next year.

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