Tech and social media moguls from the US and China dominated the list of the world’s wealthiest self-made billionaires who are under 40 years old, according to the 10th edition of the ranking produced by Hurun Research Institute.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, 36, topped the list for the sixth straight year, with his net worth increasing 20 per cent over the past 12 months to US$101 billion. Zhang Yiming, the 38-year old founder of ByteDance, which operates short-video app sensation TikTok, came in second after boosting his wealth by 291 per cent to US$54 billion.
The duo led a list of 79 self-made billionaire-entrepreneurs under the age of 40 globally, 26 more than last year. Their combined wealth rose 79 per cent last year to 3.4 trillion yuan (US$519.3 billion), according to Hurun. That is almost equivalent in size to the economy of China’s capital, at 3.6 trillion yuan.
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Much of the wealth came on the back of a global stock market rally as prices surged in the US and broader Asian markets. The S&P 500 Index rose 84.5 per cent through April 12, while the MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 69 per cent from their pandemic-hit lows on March 23 last year, generating an extra US$27.5 trillion in equity wealth.
The number of the world’s ultra-wealthy – those with net worth exceeding US$30 million excluding their primary residence – rose in 2020, according to a report by Knight Frank in March. China saw the largest increase of 16 per cent.
The US, however, is likely to remain the country with the most wealthy individuals, with its current population of more than 180,000 forecast to grow by 24 per cent in the next five years, Knight Frank said.
In Hong Kong, the initial public offering (IPO) of Kuaishou Technology, a rival to ByteDance, helped its founders Su Hua, 39, and Cheng Yixiao, 36, leapfrog others to the third and fourth spots, from 17th and 22nd respectively a year ago.
Su’s net worth surged 728 per cent to US$24 billion while Cheng boosted his wealth by 829 per cent to US$19.5 billion, according to Hurun. Kuaishou’s stock surged 161 per cent during February trading debut, valuing the 10-year-old unprofitable company at HK$1.23 trillion (US$158 billion).
Dustin Moskovitz, who co-founded Facebook, rounded off the top five under-40s with a net worth of US$17 billion, an increase of 27 per cent from a year ago, according to Hurun.
Both the US and China added 11 people to the list of 75 wealthiest billionaires of under 40, with 31 Americans on the list, compared with 30 in China.
Beijing had the most number of under-40 self-made billionaires with four in the top 10 hailing from the Chinese capital. They included 40-year-old Zhang Bangxin, the founder of the tutoring group TAL Education who is worth US$15.5 billion.
Making a rare appearance is a 28-year old Hong Kong-based entrepreneur Sam Bankman-Fried of cryptocurrency exchange FTX. At US$10 billion, he is tied on the 15th spot with two other billionaires.
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