China’s richest billionaires gain $71 billion as stocks jump

On Wednesday, the strength of the rebound in Chinese and Hong Kong shares added $71 billion to the combined fortunes of the mainland’s richest people. With the surge expected to continue on Thursday, that figure is expected to rise even further.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Pony Ma of Tencent Holdings Ltd., William Ding of NetEase Inc., and Colin Huang, the founder of Pinduoduo Inc., were among the world’s biggest gainers, each adding more than $5 billion. The gains came as Chinese stocks traded in Hong Kong staged their best recoveries since 2008 on Wednesday, after the country’s top financial policy body pledged to stabilise a market in free fall.

Chinese stocks have been especially volatile. An index tracking mainland shares listed in Hong Kong began the week with the biggest drop since the global financial crisis, as investors worried that Beijing’s ties with Russia would lead to political backlash.

Regulatory concerns resurfaced following a report that Tencent faces a record fine for violating anti-money laundering rules. The wealthiest Chinese tycoons collectively lost more than $80 billion in the first two days of the week, with Pony Ma’s fortune plummeting by $6.5 billion.

Zhong Shanshan of Nongfu Spring Co., known as the “King of Bottled Water,” remains the country’s wealthiest person, followed by Zhang Yiming of privately held ByteDance Ltd. No. 4 is Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s Jack Ma.

Even with the market’s recovery, China’s 75 wealthiest tycoons are losing money this year. According to the Bloomberg index, which tracks the world’s 500 wealthiest people, their fortunes have collectively plummeted by nearly $185 billion.