(Bloomberg) — China’s stock rout cost the nation’s richest tycoons more than $53 billion on Monday.
Most Read from Bloomberg
Elon Musk Challenges Vladimir Putin to ‘Single Combat’ for Ukraine
Ukraine Update: China Seeks to Avoid U.S. Sanctions Over War
Putin’s State Media News Is Interrupted: ‘They’re Lying to You’
Panic Selling Grips Chinese Stocks in Biggest Plunge Since 2008
Pregnant Woman Pictured Being Evacuated From Bombed Maternity Ward Has Died
Zhong Shanshan, known as China’s king of bottled water, led the plunge as his fortune fell by $5 billion, while Tencent Holding Ltd.’s Pony Ma dropped $3.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Shares of Zhong’s Nongfu Spring Co. tumbled 9.9% in Hong Kong trading — the most since the company went public 18 months ago — though he still remains China’s wealthiest person with a fortune of $60.3 billion. Tencent fell the most since 2011 after a report that it’s facing a record fine for violating anti-money laundering rules. Pony Ma, once the country’s wealthiest person, is now third with a net worth of $35.2 billion.
The slide in Chinese stocks accelerated Monday after U.S. officials said Russia asked Beijing to help with the war in Ukraine, raising concerns over a backlash against Chinese companies, potentially even sanctions. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index tracking shares traded in Hong Kong sank the most since November 2008, while the Hang Sang Tech Index tumbled 11% for the worst decline since its inception. The rout continued on Tuesday.
With Monday’s drop, the 76 Chinese billionaires among the world’s 500 richest people have lost $228 billion this year — one-fifth of their combined fortune.
Read more: Chinese Stocks in U.S. Spiral After Brutal Selloff in Asia
Tencent fell 9.8% on Monday and dipped further on Tuesday, heading to its lowest price since 2019. The Wall Street Journal reported the People’s Bank of China found its WeChat Pay had allowed the transfer of funds for illicit purposes, along with other issues. While China’s industry crackdown has already erased billions from the value of the nation’s tech giants, Tencent had so far mostly managed to avoid regulatory action.
Zhang Yiming of ByteDance Ltd. — which is private and therefore more shielded from the recent market volatility — is the country’s second-richest person, with a fortune of $44.5 billion.
Jack Ma, who was China’s wealthiest before Pony Ma surpassed him, now ranks No. 4 with a net worth of $34 billion. His fortune surpassed $60 billion in late 2020, before the government started an anti-monopolistic campaign, halting the listing of his Ant Group Co. payments company just two days before it was scheduled to go public.
Since then, China’s tech shares have struggled amid increased regulatory scrutiny and worries about potential delistings from the U.S.
On Friday, Didi Global Inc. shares slumped a record 44% as the ride-hailing giant suspended preparations for a Hong Kong initial public offering. Its founder, Cheng Wei, lost his billionaire status.
(Updates with closing levels and Tuesday moves throughout)
Most Read from Bloomberg Businessweek
The 18 Minutes of Trading Chaos That Broke the Nickel Market
ADHD Drugs Are Convenient To Get Online. Maybe Too Convenient
Peloton Got Trapped in Its Trillion-Dollar Fantasy
Min Jin Lee’s Quest to Make Us Pay Attention to Anti-Asian Hate
A Visual Guide to the World’s Military Budgets
©2022 Bloomberg L.P.