October 2014

Former Chinese premier Zhu Rongji is the first senior politician to be listed among the country’s top philanthropists, a survey shows.

Zhu Rongji, respected as an economic reformer, donated nearly $4 million from book royalties image

According to wealth publisher Hurun’s Philanthropy List 2014, Mr Zhu last year donated 23.98 million yuan ($US4 million) in book royalties to low-income schools and students.

He ranked 60th on the 103-name list, after technology billionaires, property tycoons and investment gurus.

Mr Zhu, Chinese premier from 1998 to 2003, was known for his tough style with other officials but credited with pushing deep economic reforms.

China’s top 5 philanthropists

Name Donations $USm Company
Jack Ma 2,400 Alibaba
Huang Rulun 97 Century Golden Resources
Wang Jianlin & Wang Sicong 73 Wanda
He Xiangjian 68 Midea
Tang Lixin 52 Shinesun

Source: Hurun Research

The books that contributed to his donation were collections of transcripts of his speeches since the late 1980s, when he was mayor of Shanghai.


Chairman and chief researcher of the Hurun report, Rupert Hoogewerf, said Mr Zhu’s contribution marks the first time a book royalty donation has made the list.

The former premier is among 71 new philanthropists this year – the highest since records began in 2004.

Mr Hoogewerf said the new names suggested charitable giving by the wealthy was still in its “early stages” in China.

“It shows that charitable donations are still in the early stages, but the fact we are seeing so many new faces shows me that the industry is developing and maturing,” he told the ABC.

“Also, it is worth bearing in mind that many donations are made on a one-off basis and thereafter, it is the foundation that makes the annual donations.”

China’s richest man and founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba, Jack Ma, ranked as China’s most generous person, after he donated a 1.4 percent stake in his firm – worth about $2.4 billion – to set up an environment, healthcare and education charity.

Mr Ma’s personal wealth ballooned to $19.5 billion after Alibaba’s record-breaking initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange in September, according to Forbes magazine.

To compile the list, the Hurun Research Institute surveyed 3,000 of China’s most successful entrepreneurs and cross referenced with media reports and charitable foundations.


Henry Sapiecha


James Packer n suit image

‘I am extremely happy with RatPac’s progress’ … James Packer is expanding his production company’s film and entertainment business in the US, China and Asia. Photo: Darrian Traynor

James Packer has cemented his position as a Hollywood player after securing almost a quarter of a billion dollars in backing for his Los Angeles-based production partnership, RatPac Entertainment.

The company, which Packer created a year ago in partnership with filmmaker Brett Ratner, has closed a deal with Bank of America Merrill Lynch for a credit facility worth $US150 million ($169.54 million).

RatPac says it now has a total capitalisation of up to $US225 million ($254.3 million).

The company, with Dune Entertainment, announced a multi-year agreement with US studio Warner Bros in 2013 to co-finance as many as 75 films.

The Alfonso Cuaron film Gravity was one of the early financial beneficiaries of that agreement.

It went on to gross more than $US700 million ($791.17 million) at the box office from a $100 million ($113 million) budget.

Another film backed by the fund was The Lego Movie, which has grossed almost half a billion dollars off a budget of $US60 million ($67.81 million).

Though Bank of America Merrill Lynch is the sole agent in the new RatPac deal, it represents a syndicate of American banks, including Atlanta’s SunTrust Bank, the Beverly Hills headquartered City National Bank and the Japanese-owned Union Bank.

“I am extremely happy with RatPac’s progress,” Packer said in a brief statement.

“The company is quickly expanding its film and entertainment business in the US, China and Asia.

“This credit facility is critical to RatPac’s key partnership with Warner Bros and we will continue to work hard to deepen and strengthen this relationship in the future.”

RatPac’s partner, Dune Entertainment, is owned by Steve Mnuchin, the founder of OneWest, a California-based regional bank, and the investment company Dune Capital Management.

When the RatPac-Dune-Warner Bros deal was announced in 2013, the studio’s Chief Executive, Kevin Tsujihara, said it gave the studio “increased strength and flexibility … and an even greater ability to manage risk.”

Henry Sapiecha

Bill Gates is hardly the typical billionaire. His $91.96 billion fortune is a tad over the typical billionaire’s kitty of $3.49 billion. image

Bill Gates is hardly the typical billionaire. His $91.96 billion fortune is a tad over the typical billionaire’s kitty of $3.49 billion.

What does a “typical” billionaire look like in the year 2014? The annual Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census, which gives an in-depth accounting of the world’s wealthiest people, devotes an entire section to answering this question. Here are a few points:

• The typical billionaire has a net worth of $3.49 billion ($US3.1 billion)

• The typical billionaire is 63 years old. (It was 62 last year.)

• The typical billionaire has nearly half of his or her wealth in ownership of privately held businesses.


The typical billionaire owns four properties worth some $106.05 million altogether.

Want to break it down further? According to the survey, there are a record 2,325 billionaires in the world today, up 7 per cent from the previous year. Their total wealth increased 12 per cent in the same period to $8.23 trillion, which is equal to 4 per cent of global wealth and greater than the combined market capitalisation of all the companies in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. As might be expected, men account for 2,039 of billionaires worldwide (or more than four in five) and $7.22 trillion of their combined wealth.

With $77.38 billion to his name, Warren Buffet is the world’s second richest person image

With $77.38 billion to his name, Warren Buffet is the world’s second richest person. Source: News Limited

Billionaires also have what the Wealth-X/UBS report charmingly refers to as a “billionaire network.” The typical billionaire has “business or personal relationships with another nine UHNW [ultra high net worth] individuals, three of which are billionaires,” it notes. That means the typical billionaire has a friend circle worth an estimated $18.05 billion. The “must-go” events on their social calendar, according to the report, include sporting events (particularly the U.S. Masters and PGA Championship), the Davos World Economic Forum, and various elite art shows (a good deal of which are sponsored by UBS).

Should you wish to track down a billionaire, you’re best off looking in New York, home to 103 billionaires — ahead of the runners-up, Moscow (85) and Hong Kong (82). You could also try crashing an alumni event at the University of Pennsylvania, which counts 25 billionaires among its graduates (Harvard and Yale are close behind). In terms of regions, Europe still has the largest number of billionaires, as you can see in the map from Statista below, and tiny little Liechtenstein boasts the highest number of billionaires per capita, at five.

Henry Sapiecha