If you are a billionaire and have not seen your net worth growing in the past nine months, then you should call your accountant. Never in history has there been a more extreme period when the rich got richer. The 10 richest people in the world have risen a total of $ 300 billion since January 1.
Bernard Arnault, currently the third richest person in the world, has posted the largest net income in the world. Between January and today, the LVMH honcho has increased its net worth by $ 47 billion. In other words, he started the year with a net worth of $ 115 billion and currently has a net worth of $ 162 billion. Not that net worth actually increasing this way, but if you average up Bernard’s net wealth gain by the day, his net worth has grown by $ 193 million a day since Jan. 1.
If you look at a list of the 500 richest billionaires in the world, 380 of them have increased their fortunes since January 1st. In other words, 75% of the world’s richest billionaires have seen their net worth spike in the past nine months. And indeed, thanks to China, that number is a bit watered down.
Of the 120 billionaires who have lost fortunes since the beginning of the year, 42 are Chinese citizens. If you weed out Chinese billionaires, 82% of the billionaires on the planet have made money since January 1st.
So let me repeat. Every billionaire out there who has managed to lose money in the past nine months is seriously screwed. The exchange hits a new all-time record every other day. Dogecoin has a market cap of $ 36 billion. Children literally become millionaires thanks to JPEG files. A billionaire should be able to toss the cover of the Wall Street Journal and make millions.
But let’s get back to these Chinese billionaires for a moment.
In 2021, the Chinese government basically declared war on its billionaires (and celebrities). About half of all Chinese billionaires saw their wealth decline in 2021. And not just by a few million or a hundred million. Many Chinese fortunes have plummeted tens of billions this year.
And nobody in the world lost more than Colin Huang in 2021.
Colin is the founder of the Chinese e-commerce platform Pinduoduo (PDD).
PDD was founded in 2015 and has some interesting products. Their main product connects farmers and traders. Let’s say you grow mushrooms. PDD puts you in touch with both a buyer who is willing to pay the most for your crop and a shipping company to deliver the crop to that buyer at the lowest possible price.
Another product allows consumers to band together to order groceries, clothing, gadgets, and kitchen items in bulk to negotiate deep discounts. In 2020, nearly 800 million people made a PDD transaction.
Colin resigned from PDD in March 2021 when the company’s share price peaked at $ 200 per share. The stock lost 17% after he announced his decision to step down.
Today PDD trades at $ 100 per share.
Another explanation for the decline in the stock is a general decline in ecommerce sales as people in China are no longer stuck at home ordering everything online due to COVID-19.
The bigger explanation is the growing fear that the Chinese government will conduct antitrust investigations against the country’s largest tech companies. In May, for example, Chinese regulators fined Jack Ma’s Alibaba nearly $ 3 billion for violating monopoly laws. Chinese stock investors are very nervous that regulators are just getting warm.
$ 30 billion in wealth loss
As of January 1, 2021, Colin had a net worth of $ 63 billion. His net worth peaked at $ 75 billion in February when the stock was in the $ 200 range.
Today his net worth is $ 33 billion. That’s a decrease of $ 30 billion since the beginning of the year and a decrease of $ 42 billion since the high in February.
Even using the year-to-date number, a $ 30 billion decline is the biggest loss of wealth anyone in the world has suffered in the last year.
It will be interesting to see if Colin’s drop stabilizes or is just beginning.
Perhaps to reassure Chinese regulators, Colin has been on a little philanthropic affair lately. He has pledged around 2.4% of his PDD share to a non-profit foundation and a further 7.7% to a fund to support scientific research.
If you can’t beat them, bribe them with charity!