More Chinese cities overtake New York in their number of resident billionaires, Shenzhen being the latest, says Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman and chief researcher of the Hurun global rich list to NBC. “It is a significant indicator of where Shenzhen has come from and where it is going,” he said.
According to the Hurun Global Rich List, an annual ranking compiled by a private Shanghai-based company, Beijing is home to the world’s greatest number of billionaires at 144, followed by Shanghai with 121. There are 113 billionaires in Shenzhen, compared with 110 in New York, while London came in fifth with 101.
The growing concentration of wealth isn’t news to people in Shenzhen, which added eight billionaires since last year.
“It’s almost more of a wake-up call for the rest of the world,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman and chief researcher of Hurun Report, the company behind the list.
While rankings can fluctuate, he said the rising number of billionaires in Shenzhen reflected a “megatrend” that will draw more young entrepreneurs to the city in coming years.
“It is a significant indicator of where Shenzhen has come from and where it is going,” he said.
Shenzhen’s rise began in 1980, when it was named China’s first special economic zone as part of the country’s “reform and opening up” under then-leader Deng Xiaoping. That allowed the city to experiment with market capitalism in an effort to attract foreign investment. From 1979 to 2021, Shenzhen’s gross domestic product grew from less than $28 million to almost $475 billion.
Today, the city is home to some of China’s biggest tech companies, including telecom giant Huawei and the internet conglomerate Tencent, inspiring others to follow. Last year, 2,500 new state-recognized high-tech companies were set up in Shenzhen, bringing the total number to 17,000, according to the local government.
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