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52 Chinese make the Forbes rich list

FIFTY-TWO Chinese billionaires are included in the Forbes 2009 list of the world's richest people.

Li Ka-shing, 80, the richest Chinese, was 16th on the list and remained highest with US$16.2 billion.

Another 18 Hong Kong billionaires, 28 from the mainland and five from Taiwan made the 2009 list.

Liu Yongxing, 60, the richest mainland man, ranked 205th with a total of US$3 billion worth of personal assets.

The US$3.3 billion Tsai Wan-tsai family was the richest person in Taiwan and ranked 183rd in the world, according to Forbes.

The 2009 list published had fewer mainland billionaires than last year when there were 42.

Though the number of billionaires from the Chinese mainland dropped, their collective wealth shrank much less than those in other emerging economies like India and Turkey, Luisa Kroll, senior editor of Forbes, told Xinhua.

"China is one of the brighter spots," said Kroll. Meanwhile, the number of billionaires from Russia decreased to 32 from last year's 87, reflecting plunging oil prices.

The worst economic crisis in decades has taken its toll on billionaires with fewer of them and their wealth shrinking by nearly half.

Forbes Magazine's 2009 list of the world's billionaires saw the total number drop to 793 from 1,125 in 2008, the first year-to-year decrease since 2003.

And the total wealth assessed on this year's list made US$2.4 trillion dollars, down from US$4.4 trillion last year, a drop of more than 45 percent and the worst reading since Forbes began compiling the list.

Bill Gates returned to the top of the list with a total net worth of US$40 billion dollars. Ironically, he reclaimed the crown because he lost less than Warren Buffett, last year's richest man.

Buffett lost US$25 billion dollars due to the decline in value of his Berkshire Hathaway stock, while Gates lost US$18 billion dollars. Mexican telecom titan Carlos Slim Helu, last year's number two, slipped to third place. The top three on Forbes' 2009 list have lost a combined US$68 billion dollars in the past year.

The 2009 list includes citizens from 53 countries and regions. Americans once again dominate the super rich, occupying half of the top 20 spots, up from four last year.

It is the 23rd annual ranking of the world's billionaires by Forbes Magazine. Each person's total net worth is measured in US dollar, based on the closing stock prices of the stock exchanges on which each person's company is listed, and exchange rates as of today.


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