The fortunes of China's richest billionaires are shrinking rapidly as hard times hit the country's stock and property markets, according to a list released Monday.
Appliance and property tycoon Huang Guangyu, a 39-year-old entrepreneur with assets estimated at 43 billion yuan ($6.3 billion), tops the list of China's 1,000 wealthiest individuals compiled by Shanghai-based analyst Rupert Hoogewerf.
Huang, who controls appliance chain Gome and had topped the list in years past but ranked fourth last year, displaced Yang Huiyan, who last year led the list with a fortune estimated at 130 billion yuan ($19 billion).
This year Yang, 27, ranks third, with 33 billion yuan ($4.9 billion), Hoogewerf said.
Second on the list was Du Shuanghua, a 43-year-old steel tycoon whose wealth is estimated at 35 billion yuan ($5.1 billion), he said. Du did not figure in the top 10 last year.
The remaining names on Hoogewerf's list are due to be announced today.
Last year, the fortunes of many of China's billionaires swelled as stock prices soared to record highs, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index surging to 6124.04 in mid-October.
Since then, share prices have fallen in a prolonged correction, with the benchmark index now nearly 65 percent below that peak. Property prices have also fallen, although not by as much.
Last year, the top three on the list had wealth estimated at $35 billion - this year, their fortunes total less than half that, $16.3 billion.
The ups and downs of China's newly minted billionaires and millionaires often reflect broader trends in the economy.
Yang's fortune came from ownership of a controlling stake in Country Garden Holdings Ltd, a southern China real-estate developer founded by her father.
The company's initial public offering in Hong Kong in April 2007 raised some $1.9 billion and its stock price more than doubled in value to HK$13.50 a share in the months that followed. Monday, the company's shares fell 8.1 percent to HK$2.26.
Huang, the appliance mogul, has managed to insulate himself somewhat from market turmoil by selling off shares in his private holding company to the company's publicly-listed unit.
Last year he was worth about 45 billion yuan.