Liang Wengen [File Photo: huagu.com]
Liang Wengen, chairman of Sany Group, China's construction machinery manufacturing giant, has been named the wealthiest person in China's mainland with a fortune of 70 billion yuan (11 billion U.S. dollars) in a Hurun Research Institute report.
Last year's No.1 "Drinks King" Zong Qinghou of Wahaha Group dropped one place to the second with 68 billion yuan, followed by Robin Li Yanhong of the Baidu.com, China's top online search engine, in the third with 56 billion yuan, according to the report issued Wednesday.
The wealth of Sany's chairman comes from his 58 percent share of the company, which currently holds two listed companies. Liang, 55, has plans to go public with the entire operation next year.
China's relentless construction boom coupled with a growing domestic retail market have been the key drivers of personal wealth growth, said the Hurun report.
Another driver for the growth has been a large number of successful listings on the stock markets, with 29 of the Hurun Top 50 list relying on property as one of their main sources of wealth.
Despite the continuing global financial crisis, 2011 has been a record year for China's rich. The number of billionaires with more than 1 billion U.S. dollars on the Hurun 1000 list grew to 271, up from 189 last year and more than double from 2009, according to the report.
The cut-off to make the Hurun 1000 rose to 310 million U.S. dollars from 220 million dollars last year and 150 million U.S. dollars in 2009. The average wealth of the mainland's 1,000 richest people hit 924 million U.S. dollars.
"China's rich have defied the global financial crisis with another record year of growth," said Rupert Hoogewerf, Chairman and Chief Researcher of the Hurun Research Institute.
It was the 13th annual ranking of the richest individuals in China's mainland, since Hurun Report founded the China Rich List in 1999.