China’s Super Rich Persons (CSRP)

By fundamentally recoding information of people on the Hurun Rich List, we built a new database named China’s Super Rich Persons (CSRP). Hurun Rich List is the major annual list of China’s wealthiest corporate elite. Hurun is the Chinese name of Rupert Hoogewerf, a 1970-born British former chartered accountant and publisher of the Hurun Rich List. As one of us has elaborated in another article, our purpose is not to test the credibility of the rich lists; rather, the rich lists merely provide an index or ‘census’ of names of the ‘visibly richest Chinese private entrepreneurs’.

The process of establishing this database is as follows. First, we use the Hurun China Rich List to identify China’s super-rich. We define the super-rich as those who once ranked over 100 on the Hurun China Rich List. Then, according to the information provided by the Hurun China Rich List, we gather their basic personal information (e.g., gender, birth place) and rank on the list in every single year between 2000 to 2018[1]. Next, we construct a detail survey sheet covering the super-rich’s family information, political participation, life trajectory, and so on. Afterward, our research assistants thoroughly collect the answer for questions on the survey sheet. Data collection channels include corporate websites, media reports, and other official datasets. Finally, we clear, integrate, and code all the information collected to form the final dataset.

For more info, please download the codebook here.

Two preliminary papers can be found here:

Lu, P. 2017, “The Horatio Alger Myth in China: Origins of the First Generation of Visibly Richest Chinese Private Entrepreneurs”, China: An International Journal, Vol. 15, No.2, pp.4-26. (Download Full Text)

Lu, P., Fan, X., Fu, F. 2021. “Profile of the Super Rich in China: A Social Space Analysis”, The British Journal of Sociology, Vol 72, No. 3, pp. 543-565.(Download Full Text)

Starting in 2021, Professor Xiaoguang Fan from Zhejiang University and I have been joining a large-scale international project World Elite Database (WED) led by Professor Mike Savage from LSE. The WED is a collective endeavour, which consists in the development of comparable datasets. Based on CSRP, the Chinese team has comprehensively upgraded the database of China’s economic elites and looks forward to cooperating with more international scholars.

[1] Hoogewerf published his first China rich list in 1999 as an independent researcher by selling it to Forbes magazine. From then on, Forbes bought and published Hoogewerf’s rich list in the name of Forbes Rich List until 2003, when their business relationship broke up. After 2003, Hurun started to release his own list. For convenience, we view the Forbes rich list of China before 2003 as a “predecessor” of Hurun Rich List. Moreover, we abandon the list of 1999 because it only listed 10 names and is very much controversial.