() — The past few years have not been good for China’s super-rich, particularly those who built their fortunes in the country’s once-sizzling real estate market.
The net worth of Hui Ka Yan, chairman of real estate developer China Evergrande, has plunged nearly 93%, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The wealth of Hui, once the second-richest person in Asia, has fallen from $42 billion. at its peak in 2017 to about $3 billion, Bloomberg said.
Evergrande is China’s most indebted developer with $300 billion in liabilities, and has been at the center of the country’s real estate woes since 2021. Hui, also known as Xu Jiayin in Mandarin, used his personal wealth to prop up his beleaguered company , selling their homes and private jets.
But that was far from enough and Evergrande defaulted on its US dollar bonds in December 2021 after struggling for months to raise cash with which to pay creditors, suppliers and investors. Last year, the company failed to deliver its preliminary debt restructuring plan, raising further concerns about its future.
Evergrande is huge: It has around 200,000 employees, grossed more than $110 billion in sales in 2020, and owns more than 1,300 developments in more than 280 cities.
Analysts have long been concerned that Evergrande’s collapse could unleash further risks for China’s property market, hurting homeowners and the broader financial system. Real estate and related industries account for up to 30% of GDP.
But Hui is not the only one who has seen massive wealth destruction of late. Last month, Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, SpaceX and Twitter, became the first person to lose $200 billion, according to Bloomberg.
Most of Musk’s wealth is tied up in Tesla, whose shares plunged 65% in 2022.