China’s richest are slowly losing their billions according to the Hurun Rich List’s annual report released Monday.

Hurun said the number of Chinese billionaires dwindled to 251, down 20 from last year. Still, the present figures are a sharp contrast to figures in 2006 when there were just 15 Chinese worth $1 billion or more. Nearly half of the 1,000 richest Chinese saw their wealth diminish in the past year, with 37 experiencing a more than 50% drop in their total worth. The average wealth of the top 1,000 moneyed Chinese also fell 9% to $860 million.

This comes at a time when China’s economy slowed down to a three-year low of 7.6% GDP growth year on year in the second quarter of 2012. Property has also edged away as stimulus to wealth amid a cooling property market and replaced by the manufacturing sector, Hurun stated.

Zong Qinghou, the founder and chairman of beverage company Wahaha, was named the richest individual in China with a wealth of $12.6 billion – up from $10.7 billion last year. Mr. Zong claims he lives on $20 a day. He is followed by Wang Jianlin, founder and chairman of property developer and cinema operator Dalian Wanda Group, with a fortune of $10.3 billion.

“China’s rich have defied the global financial crisis with another record year of growth,” Hurun report chairman and chief researcher Rupert Hoogewerf said.