Beijing overtakes New York City as home to most billionaires


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Beijing now boasts of 100 billionaires, one more than New York City which remains ahead of the Chinese capital in terms of the total net worth of the billionaires after bouncing back quickly from Covid-19 which has adversely impacted the global economy, according to the Forbes’ 2021 World’s Billionaires List.

Beijing’s billionaires have a total net worth of around $484 billion while the billionaires of New York City have a total net worth of more than $560 billion, with NYC resident Michael Bloomberg being the richest individual among them.

The Chinese capital added 33 billionaires last year and now hosts 100, said the business magazine. This narrowly beats New York City, which hosts 99 and has previously held the top spot for seven years running. A record number of new billionaires in Beijing took the Chinese capital from the fourth position to the first position.

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The report said China’s quick response to and containment of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the rise of its technology firms and stock markets, helped it gain the number one spot.

The richest person in Beijing is Zhang Yiming, the founder of video-sharing app TikTok, and the CEO of its parent firm ByteDance. He saw his net worth double to $35.6 billion from 2020, as the app’s popularity exploded.

Although, even as Beijing now has more billionaires than the Big Apple, the combined net worth of New York City’s billionaires remained US$80bn (£58bn) greater than that of their counterparts in Beijing.

The ten cities that are home to a quarter of the world’s billionaires are: Beijing (100); New York City (99), Hong Kong (80); Moscow (79); Shenzen (68); Shanghai (64); London (63); Mumbai and San Francisco (48); Hangzhou (47).

Mumbai is the only Indian city to feature in the list with 48 dollar billionaires as it added 10 billionaires last year. Mukesh Ambani, chair of conglomerate Reliance Industries and now Asia’s richest man, doubled his net worth to nearly $85 billion, about one-third of Mumbai billionaires’ total wealth, according to Forbes.

The four Chinese cities on the list – Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and newcomer Hangzhou, which knocked Singapore off the list – added 96 billionaires in total.

Half of China’s new billionaires made their fortunes from technology, manufacturing ventures, and e-cigarettes.

In terms of billionaires by country, China – with its 698 billionaires – is closing in on the US in the top-spot with its 724 billionaires

A record-breaking 2,755 billionaires now make up Forbes’ annual list, with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos top of the pile for the fourth consecutive year.

This year’s billionaires are worth a combined $13.1 trillion, up from $8 trillion last year, according to Forbes, meaning overall they saw their combined wealth soar by $5.1 trillion in the past 12 months. 

Here’s the Forbes list of top 10 cities with most billionaires:

1. Beijing: 100 billionaires

2. New York City: 99 billionaires

3. Hong Kong: 80 billionaires

4. Moscow: 79 billionaires

5. Shenzen: 68 billionaires

6. Shanghai: 64 billionaires

7. London: 63 billionaires

8. (tie) Mumbai: 48 billionaires

8. (tie) San Francisco: 48 billionaires

10. Hangzhou: 47 billionaires

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