March 1, 2018 / 11:35 PM / 2 years ago

Wealth of China's richest lawmakers rises by a third: Hurun

BEIJING (Reuters) - The richest members of China’s parliament and its advisory body have grown even richer, a body that tracks wealth in China said on Friday.

Tencent Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Pony Ma Huateng attends a news conference announcing the company's results in Hong Kong, China March 17, 2016. REUTERS/Bobby Yip/File Photo

Led by National People’s Congress (NPC) delegate Ma Huateng, the chairman of tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd, with a net worth of 295 billion yuan ($46 billion), the top 100 representatives had a total net worth of 3.91 trillion yuan, the Shanghai-based Hurun Report said.

Their total wealth rose by one-third over the 12 months to Jan. 31, according to Reuters’ calculations based on Hurun’s data.

While Chinese President Xi Jinping has led a crackdown on corruption and made the fight against poverty a priority, representatives of the NPC and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), an advisory body to the government, include some of the communist-ruled country’s wealthiest businessmen.

The NPC could not be reached for comment about its ultra-wealthy delegates, and a CPPCC press representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hurun identified 153 delegates as each being worth 2 billion yuan or more, the lowest number in five years.

But although the total numbers of the super-rich in the two government bodies was down, their combined wealth, at 4.12 trillion yuan, was nearly 18 percent higher than the total wealth of rich lawmakers last year.

Related graphic:

The strong property market boosted the wealth of a number of representatives, including Xu Jiayin, chairman of developer China Evergrande Group and a delegate to the CPPCC advisory body, whose net worth leapt 242 percent to 260 billion yuan.

Those making their first appearance as CPPCC delegates include the leaders of some of China’s big internet firms, such as Netease Chief Executive William Ding, Chairman Richard Liu, and security software company Qihoo’s chief executive, Zhou Hongyi.

The CPPCC meeting opens on Saturday and the NPC begins its annual session in Beijing on Monday. All Chinese over the age of 18 are technically allowed to vote for delegates and stand for election to the NPC, but most delegates are handpicked by local-level officials.

Reporting by Elias Glenn; Editing by Angus MacSwan, Stephen Coates and Clarence Fernandez

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