Some fearful China billionaires steer clear of rich list
By Jane Lee
SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Growing numbers of China's rich want to avoid publicizing their wealth, Forbes said, reflecting fears of official scrutiny amid a vast and growing rich-poor divide after several billionaires have ended up in jail.
Rural incomes have been rising more slowly than urban incomes for two decades -- a factor that could threaten social stability and the ruling Communist Party's grip on power in a country where 150 million people still live on just $0.50 a day.
More of the newly rich than in recent years asked to be left out of Forbes Asia's latest China rich list, said Russell Flannery, a senior editor at the magazine who oversaw the compilation of the list, which was released on Thursday.
"I think it's a reflection in a bit of a sea change in Chinese society right now," said Flannery. "...There's a lot of concern in China about the wealth gap."
Several once high-flying members of earlier rich lists have ended up in jail, including Huang Guangyu, the founder of Gome Electrical Appliance Holding Ltd, and Shanghai property tycoon Zhou Zhengyi.
CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets in a study released on Thursday estimated that China will account for 60 percent of the rise in high net-worth individuals' wealth in Asia over the next five years.
The latest rich list pitted stolid industrial muscle against high-tech, with the head of an earth-moving company pipping the co-founder of the nation's biggest Internet search engine for the top spot. Continued...