2015 was a tough year for billionaires who made their mint in metals and mining, but a much better year to be filthy rich in tech, according to the annual Hurun Rich List report, which ranks the world’s most wealthy people.
Interestingly, 23 percent of new tech billionaires added to the 2016 list are Chinese women. In fact, the nine new additions make up 100 percent of new global female tech billionaires.
Despite a 7 percent drop in their currency, China’s billionaires have become much richer and much more numerous in the past year. The technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) industry made up half of the main source of wealth for billionaires as of February 2016, whereas metal and mining billionaires saw their wealth drop.
The new female Chinese tech billionaires include Li Qiong, who is a partner with her husband in Beijing Kulun Tech, which recently bought a majority of US gay dating app Grindr, and then entered a bid for Norwegian-based mobile browser Opera. Other women among the nine new tech billionaires hail from companies including Rapoo, VenusTech, Qtone Education and United Electronics.
So Why Are 2016’s New Female Tech Billionaires Exclusively Chinese?
It’s at least partially related to an overall rise in Chinese billionaires. No other country added to the rich list at anywhere near the rate of China, with the combined wealth of their billionaires roughly equaling the GDP of Australia.
The country saw 90 new billionaires in the past year, taking their total to 568. Conversely, the US lost two billionaires, falling below China with just 535. Countries dependent on resources also fell in the rankings, including Russia, Canada and Australia who dropped 13, four and two billionaires respectively.
Aside from a general rise in Chinese billionaires, China also leads the world in new young billionaires (under 40), which could explain why more female tech names are finding their way onto the list. Women accounted for around 16 percent of the total Chinese people listed, while in the under-40 age category that number went up to 21 percent of the total. The country also accounts for 75 percent of the world’s ‘self-made’ female billionaires, according to the report.
Together, China and US made up half of the total list. Chinese billionaires grew 80% since 2013 and Beijing is the billionaire capital for the first year ever, adding 32 to make an even 100 billionaires, beating out New York’s 95.