Chinese parliament has 83 billionaires

China Featured - March 8th, 2013

China’s legislative gatherings may well be the time when the highest number of billionaires convene together under one roof.

Billionaires are becoming a fixture at the annual twin meetings of China’s National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, according to Shanghai-based Hurun Global Rich List.

Hurun identified 31 people with more than $1 billion in personal assets among the 3,000 delegates of the National People’s Congress, China’s rubber stamp parliament. Delegates are elected for five-year terms.

Beverage tycoon Zong Qinghou, with an estimated wealth of $13 billion, is a legislator in the NPC for his third five-year term.

Another 52 billionaires are delegates to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, an advisory body, according to the Hurun report.

The top three richest members of the CPPCC are from Hong Kong real estate dynasties, with Victor Li, the son of Asia’s richest man Li Ka-shing, coming in first with an estimated family fortune of $32 billion, reports Wall Street Journal.

The average fortune among the 83 wealthiest NPC and CPPCC delegates is $3.35 billion, compared with the average annual wage for Chinese urban workers of less than $7,000, according to the Hurun report.

The US House of Representatives and the Senate does not a have a single billionaire. Each of the 83 richest members of the House of Representatives and Senate has an average wealth of $56.4 million, according to figures from the Center for Responsive Politics.

Still, Chinese tycoons are a minority at the meetings; billionaires represent only 1% of the 2,987 delegates of the NPC and 2.3% of the 2,237 members of the CPPCC.

The number of billionaires at the meetings was up 17% this year from last year, when 28 billionaires attended the NPC and 43 were at the CPPCC.

The convergence of power and great wealth is a highly sensitive topic in China amid reports of rampant high-level corruption and the increasing income inequality.