Mainland property magnate Wang Jianlin has become the richest Chinese person in the world, overtaking Hong Kong’s Li Ka-shing, a wealth ranking list showed.

Wang Jianlin, 61, is the chairman of the Dalian Wanda Group. His wealth is estimated to be RMB260 billion (HK$315 billion), surpassing Li Ka-shing’s RMB200 billion (HK$242 billion).

The figures were published in the Hurun Global Chinese Rich List, published by the Hurun Research Institute.

Wang Jianlin. Photo: Wikimedia Commons via World Economic Forum.

The list attributed the growth of Wang’s wealth to rise in stock prices of Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties—which was listed in Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2014—as well as Wanda Cinemas in China.

Wang founded the Dalian Wanda Group in 1988 after leaving the army. It was one of the first shareholding companies in China.

His first taste of success came after he developed new properties in Dalian, transforming the town.

Wang’s real estate business continued to grow, with Dalian Wanda developing shopping malls in China. The company became the world’s largest cinema owner in 2012 when it acquired AMC Theaters.

In 1994, Wang bought the Dalian Wanda Football Team, which went on to top China’s league tables three years in a row. He sold the team in 1999. In January, he acquired a 20 percent stake in Spanish football club Atletico Madrid.

Founder of the Hurun Research Institute Rupert Hoogewerf, said: “As little as 10 years ago, the most successful Chinese were all outside mainland China. Today that has changed completely.”

Hurun Global Chinese Rich List, a ranking of the wealthiest individuals in China, began publishing annually in 1999. It was founded by Luxembourger Rupert Hoogewerf, a chartered accountant who also goes by the name Hurun.

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Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.