The dream of rising from rags to riches lives on in the world’s second largest economy, the People’s Republic of China. The country has 251 U.S. dollar billionaires, up from only 15 six years ago. The Hurun Rich List, an annual survey of China’s richest one thousand (“the 0.00008 percent”) released on Wednesday, showed that while most of China’s richest have felt the impact of the economic crisis, the country sticks to what former leader Deng Xiaoping told TIME in 1985: let some people get rich first.
The average wealth of China’s richest 1,000 stands at $860 million, down 9 percent from last year but still up 96 percent since the start of the financial crisis in 2008. Their average age is 54, most live in the capital Beijing (12 percent), are born in years of the rabbit (13 percent), and by an increasing margin are male (87 percent). Almost half have made their fortune in either manufacturing or real estate, or both. The country has 2.7 million millionaires when measured in U.S. dollars, according to Hurun. But even with a boom of wealth entering China, the country’s richest are still dwarfed by their U.S. counterparts. China’s richest man would rank 25th on the Forbes List of America’s Richest.
The combined fortunes of America’s richest three — Microsoft founder Bill Gates, investor Warren Buffett and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison — equal the wealth of China’s richest thirty, the Beijing-based New Capital Daily calculated. You’ll need $3.9 billion to make it into Forbes’ list of the richest one hundred Americans. For the same list in China, just $1.8 billion would suffice.