Huawei sanctions shrink founder Ren Zhengfei’s wealth while Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun’s net worth doubles

22-Oct-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

US sanctions on Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies have eaten into founder Ren Zhengfei’s personal wealth, even as opportunities in 5G boost the fortunes of other smartphone billionaires in the country, according to the latest Hurun China Rich List.

The 76-year-old Huawei founder saw his wealth shrink 10 per cent in the past year to 19 billion yuan (US$2.8 billion), Hurun said in a report published on Tuesday morning. Ren’s position on the list which ranks the richest individuals in China with wealth of at least 2 billion yuan fell more than a hundred places from 162nd last year to 277th this year.

Meanwhile, opportunities in 5G have elevated the net worth of other Chinese billionaires involved in the smartphone business, according to the Hurun report. These include Xiaomi founder Lei Jun whose wealth more than doubled from 75 billion yuan to 170 billion yuan in the past year as well as the founders of Vivo and Oppo, Shen Wei and Chen Mingyong, who are now worth 18 million yuan and 17.5 million yuan respectively, Hurun said.

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A total of 2,303 billionaires made the rich list, which uses public databases as well as interviews with industry experts, government officials and other sources to value the wealth of China’s richest. For non-listed companies like Huawei, Hurun said it uses a comparison with listed equivalents using prevailing industry price/earnings ratios.

In all, Hurun estimated that those on the list added $1.5 trillion to their collective nest eggs in the past year, and now own a combined fortune of $4 trillion more than the gross domestic product of Germany, the world’s fourth-biggest economy. The latest list is based on Hurun’s calculations as of August 28.

Alibaba Group Holding founder Jack Ma and his family topped the Hurun list for the third year running with a net worth of $58.8 billion, up 45 per cent from last year. Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.

Tencent Holdings founder Pony Ma came in second, with his wealth growing 50 per cent in the past year to $57.4 billion. This was due to the better-than-expected performance of Tencent’s gaming business as well as good returns on some of the company’s investments, including in Tesla, Meituan Dianping, Pinduoduo and, according to the report.

Shenzhen-based Huawei has been one of the major casualties of rising US-China tensions. The Trump administration added the company to its Entity List last year and has pressured allies such as the UK to exclude Huawei from their next-generation 5G networks.

In August, the White House also moved to cut off Huawei’s access to key chip suppliers such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), the world’s largest contract chip maker, by requiring any company that sells Huawei any products made anywhere with US technology to obtain a licence.

But despite these ongoing US sanctions and the coronavirus pandemic, Huawei’s revenue grew 13.1 per cent year-on-year in the first six months of 2020, to 454 billion yuan. The company is set to release its third-quarter results on Friday.


Category: China

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