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China’s five richest investors

Fosun International Ltd. Chairman And Billionaire Guo Guangchang Attends Interim Results News ConferenceFosun International Ltd. Chairman And Billionaire Guo Guangchang Attends Interim Results News Conference
Look, Guo's talking.Photograph by Brent Lewin — Bloomberg via Getty Images

After a 18-month takeover battle that featured bids and counterbids followed by even more counterbids, Club Med eventually went to China’s Fosun International (FOSUF) last week for a winning share offer that was 45% higher than Fosun’s original price.

While the Chinese investment group won the iconic French vacation brand, they did so by paying a hefty $1.1 billion, a price that may decide whether China’s media continues calling Fosun’s chairman Guo Guangchang the Warren Buffett of China.

Guo is widely considered one of the country’s best value investors and a report released Monday confirmed his spot atop China richest investors—a group that continues gaining influence around the world.

Shanghai-based Hurun Research, run by the British accountant Rupert Hoogewerf, compiled the ranking of China’s richest investors. To make the cut, investors needed to be worth at least $50 million, with 30% of that derived from investments. The key stipulation was that they had to be investors first and foremost, so Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma and Xiaomi’s Lei Jun, both billionaires from stock holdings in their companies, didn’t qualify. Almost 90 individuals made the list, including nine billionaires.

Guo is worth $4.5 billion from Fosun’s investments, according to Hurun, which include U.S. fashion label St. John and the One Chase Manhattan Plaza skyscaper on Wall Street.

The rest of the Chinese top five investors ranked as follows:

  1. $2.7 billion ‘Timothy’ Chen Tianqiao, 42, founded Shanda, an online games company, and then grew it into an entertainment behemoth. Hurun says Shanda has invested in 140 companies in the past decade.
  1. $2.4 billion Zhang Lei, 43, manages more than $14 billion at his company, Hillhouse Capital, which he started in 2005 with an investment from Yale’s endowment. An early investor in Tencent, Zhang invests mostly in traditional companies and said this summer it was one of the best times to invest in China.
  1. $1.8 billion ‘Neil’ Shen Nanpeng, 48, is a math whiz who co-founded Ctrip, China’s version of Expedia.com, before co-founding Sequoia Capital China and investing in more than 100 companies including Qihoo 360 (QIHU) and VIP.com (VIPS).
  1. $1.3 billion Chen Rong’s Zhonglu Group has invested into 160 companies within technology, media, and the environmental industry. The 57-year-old started the Shanghai-based holding companies in 1998.

As overseas acquisitions by private Chinese companies continue—the latest annual data from 2013 shows $23 billion spent, almost three times the amount in 2010—these investors should appear in more headlines, accompanied by more comparisons, even if there can only be one Oracle of Omaha.