The number of billionaires across the world topped 2,000 for the first time ever, with the Asia-Pacific region accounting to 720, according to Forbes’ annual rich list.
In the list released on Monday, Microsoft’s Bill Gates maintained top spot for the fourth-straight year with a fortune of $86 billion, while Wang Jianlin, the chairman of Dalian Wanda Group and China’s richest man, was the most affluent Asian, coming in at 18th with a fortune of $31.3 billion.
Founder of Chinese internet giant Alibaba Group Holding Jack Ma Yun was the third richest man in Asia, at No.23 and worth $28.3 billion.
Alibaba made international headlines when its public stock offering in New York in 2014 became the biggest ever IPO.
Apart from its mainstay e-commerce business, the group has ambitions in the movie industry, with its entertainment arm Alibaba Pictures striking a cooperation agreement with Amblin Partners, a production company led by Steven Spielberg.
Tencent’s Pony Ma Huateng was Asia’s fourth richest. The instant messaging application Weixin/WeChat that Ma runs now boasts a whopping 806 million monthly active users. The company is seeking to team up with more retailers in Hong Kong to boost usage of its WeChat Wallet mobile payment service in the city.