Oxfam: Coronavirus Created 20 ‘Pandemic Billionaires’ in Asia

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

The Chinese coronavirus pandemic helped create 20 new Asian billionaires across China, India, Japan, and Hong Kong between March 2020 and March 2021, Oxfam, a British-founded anti-poverty charity, revealed in a report published on Wednesday, the Guardian reported.

“By March 2021 there were 20 new Asian ‘pandemic’ billionaires (from China, Hong Kong, India and Japan) whose wealth came from equipment, pharmaceuticals and services needed for the pandemic response,” according to the report published on January 12.

“These include Li Jianquan and family, whose firm Winner Medical makes masks and personal protective equipment for health workers, and Dai Lizhong, whose company Sansure Biotech has produced COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] tests and diagnostic kits,” Oxfam detailed.

Li Jianquan, 65, is a Hong Kong citizen who resides in Shenzhen, China. He chairs Winner Medical, which is a supplier of “disposable wound care and surgical products,” according to Forbes. The U.S. business magazine listed “Li Jianquan & family’s” net worth as $4.2 billion on January 14.

Winner Medical started producing cotton-based medical dressings, such as bandages and gauze products, in China in 1991. The company went public on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in September 2020 and today also manufactures face masks and surgical gowns. Winner Medical products are sold across 40,000 Chinese pharmacies and reach over 70 countries outside China.

Dai Lizhong, 53, is a Chinese citizen who resides in Changsha, China, and chairs Sansure Biotech. The company produces diagnostic kits and has tailored this business to manufacture Chinese coronavirus testing kits during the pandemic.

“From 2000 to 2008, Dai worked for U.S.-based Gen-Probe, a maker of diagnostic products,” according to Forbes. The magazine listed Dai’s net worth as $1.7 billion on January 14.

A medical staff member wearing protective gear takes a swab from a visitor to test for the Covid-19 coronavirus at a temporary testing station outside the City Hall in Seoul on December 28, 2020. (Photo by Jung Yeon-je / AFP) (Photo by JUNG YEON-JE/AFP via Getty Images)

A medical staff member wearing protective gear takes a swab from a visitor to test for the Covid-19 coronavirus. (Photo by JUNG YEON-JE/AFP via Getty Images)

“Credit Suisse projects that, by 2025, there will be 42,000 more people with over $50m [million] in wealth in Asia Pacific (including India and China), bringing the total to nearly 99,000,” Oxfam reported on January 12, citing the investment bank’s 2021 Global Wealth Report.

Credit Suisse, which is an international financial services firm founded in Switzerland, further forecasts that the world will be home to an additional 15.3 million millionaires by 2025, or 58 percent more than existed in 2020.

Future global wealth increases “will be even steeper in China and India (which are not included in their [Credit Suisse’s] Asia Pacific millionaire totals), at 93% and 82% respectively,” Oxfam predicted on January 12.

Oxfam published a list of “9 new billionaires” of the coronavirus pandemic era on May 20, 2021. The list included three Chinese businessmen — Zhu Tao, Qiu Dongxu, and Mao Huihua — all of whom are co-founders and current employees of CanSino Biologics, a Chinese vaccine manufacturer.

Zhu Tao, 49, has a net worth of $1.3 billion and serves as the chief scientific officer for CanSino Biologics. Qiu Dongxu, 62 serves as senior vice president at CanSino Biologics and has a net worth of $1.2 billion. Mao Huihua, 60, also serves as senior vice president at CanSino Biologics and is worth an estimated $1 billion.

The Guardian report was published as part of the newspaper’s Global Development project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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