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Zhong Shanshan, the chairman of bottled water company Nongfu Spring, remains China’s richest person © Oriental Image via Reuters Conne

The wealth of China’s 100 richest people has shrunk by more than a third in 2022 as the country’s zero-Covid policy, faltering economic growth and a push for “common prosperity” hurt the valuations of the country’s top companies and ate of his private wealth.

The wealth of the nation’s richest tycoons shrank 39 percent to $907.1 billion in 2022 from $1.48 billion the year before, according to the Forbes Rich List, the biggest decline since the publication began compiling the list more than 20 years ago has.

Only two of the names on the list saw their wealth increase, Forbes said, while 79 billionaires became poorer.

Forbes blamed the decline on Beijing’s tech crackdown, its economically debilitating zero-Covid policy, slow economic growth and concerns over the outcome of the 20th Communist Party Congress in October.

The fall in the value of the renminbi plunged fortunes further.

Zhong Shanshan, the chairman of Nongfu Spring, the bottled water company, remained in the top spot on the list with a wealth of $62.3 billion, down just 5 percent from the year before.

Robin Zeng, chairman of CATL, the world’s largest electric vehicle battery maker, saw his wealth drop 43 percent to $28.9 billion, while Pony Ma, chief executive of internet giant Tencent, whose share price hit four-year lows dropped year, his wealth fell by more than half.

Alibaba founder Jack Ma has also seen his personal fortune nearly halved after his company fell about 60 percent in value over the past year.

Shein founder Chris Xu was a notable newcomer, with a fortune estimated at $10 billion, while Evergrand chairman Hui Ka Yan, once one of the country’s richest individuals, dropped out of the country’s 100 richest.

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