Alibaba founder Jack Ma has claimed the top spot as China’s richest person, according to Bloomberg. Ma’s net worth is now US$21.8 billion, even before his company goes public in what’s expected to be the biggest IPO for an internet company in history.
Alibaba still has a smaller market value than Tencent (HKG:0700), but Bloomberg reports Jack Ma is US$5.5 billion richer than Tencent founder Ma Huateng (a.k.a. Pony Ma). Baidu founder Robin Li ranks number three. According to Forbes’ list of the world’s 500 richest people, that puts Ma in 29th place overall.
By Bloomberg’s estimates, Ma’s 8.8 percent stake in Alibaba’s IPO is worth US$11.3 billion, which will place him further up the list. Much of the recent jump in his net worth comes from his 48 percent stake in Alipay – not included in the upcoming IPO – which wasn’t included in previous estimates of Ma’s personal assets. Note that Jack Ma is now the richest man in mainland China, but he’s still behind property magnate Li Ka-shing and casino tycoon Lui Che Woo in Hong Kong, which is part of what’s known as greater China.
Returning champion Bill Gates net worth currently stands at US$80.6 billion, making him the richest person in the world again as of March. Gates took the title in 1995 and has held it for 15 of the last 20 years. Keep in mind, however, that Gates didn’t reach the top spot until nearly 10 years after Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) went public, so Ma still has time to catch up in that regard. By age, though, Jack Ma is 49 years old, 10 years older than Gates was when he became the world’s richest person.