Ma Huateng, the CEO of Tencent Holdings of the internet in China, is back on top as the richest person in the country.
Tencent’s shares rose 7% in Hong Kong on Thursday, closing at HK $ 654 amid growth hopes, boosting Ma’s fortune by $ 4 billion, to about $ 63.4 billion on the Stock List. Forbes Real-Time Billionaires. This led him to overtake the previous top spot, Nongfu Spring CEO Zhong Shanshan, whose estimated wealth ended the day at $ 62.9 billion.
Zhong, the king of bottled water in China, had a spectacular increase in his fortune following the September 8 Nongfu Spring quote at HK $ 21.50 per share on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Its shares peaked at HK $ 66.60 on January 8 and approached that level on February 17, closing at HK $ 65.95.
Since then, it has been largely downhill. Nongfu Spring closed with a four and a half month low of HK $ 38.75 on Wednesday of this week, before recovering to HK $ 40.15 on Thursday. At the close of Thursday, Nongfu Spring shares have lost 39% of their value since February 17.
Tencent, for its part, has not had a great race lately either. Its shares have fallen 6.3% since March 2, and 14% compared to a recent closing high of HK $ 761 on February 10. Still, the operator of China’s large social network WeChat with more than a billion users, based in Shenzhen, recently gave shareholders better profit growth than Nongfu Spring.
Tencent said on March 24 that its net profit in 2020 increased 175%, to 59.3 billion yuan, over revenue that increased 26%, to 133 billion yuan. In contrast, Nongfu Spring said on March 25 that revenue fell 4.8% last year, to 22.9 billion yuan; its net profit increased by 6.3% to 5.3 billion yuan.
Ma, 49, also known as Pony Ma, was a co-founder of Tencent in 1998.
China is home to the second largest number of billionaires in the world, after the United States, but the gap has been narrowing.