Rich get richer in China despite trade war with US

In spite of the ongoing trade war with the U.S., the rich have mostly gotten richer in China.

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The Hurun Report, which monitors and ranks China's most affluent people, revealed that the average net worth of China's richest 1,800 people rose 10 percent since 2018 to $1.4 billion.  And the people on the list in various industries -- including food, pharmaceuticals and technology -- all saw their total wealth go up. Only the people on the list in the manufacturing industry saw their holdings decrease, which is a reflection of the greater financial difficulties in that sector amid China's dispute with America over tariffs.

Still, China's consumer market continues to hum. Consumer industries benefited from an 8.4 percent rise in retail spending in the first half of 2019, despite a decline in economic growth to a 26-year low of 6.2 percent.

The top of the rankings of the Hurun Report belonged to Jack Ma, the recently-retired chairman of the hugely successful e-commerce company Alibaba, who boasts a net worth valued at $39 billion. In second place was Ponay Ma Huateng, the chairman and CEO of Tencent, one of the biggest technology and gaming companies in the world, with a net worth of $37 billion.

But the key number there is that Huateng's worth went up 8 percent from the previous year.

"Wealth is concentrating into the hands of those who are able to adapt to the digital economy," Rupert Hoogewerf, the report's founder and chief researcher, said in a statement.

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The vast majority of the people on the list of China's most wealthy are self-made, in stark contrast to the lists of the most wealthy in Europe and America, where inherited wealth is a much more significant factor. When the Hurun Report began about 20 years ago, Hoogewerf said that there were no "dollar billionaires" in China, which illustrates the tremendous economic strides the country has made since the millennium began.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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