High-level executives of an Alibaba-backed company have raised doubts about the objectiveness of a rich list released by the Hurun Research Institute on Thursday.
The Hurun report listed 43 individuals from Alibaba and Ant Financial, of whom 25 were newly added this year. Peng Lei, president of Ant Financial, ranked second with an ostensible fortune of 40 billion yuan ( billion), following the fortune of the Jack Ma Yun family.
Chen Liang, vice president of Ant Financial, the financial affiliate of Alibaba Group, was also an Alibaba-related executive on the rich list. Chen said on Thursday in an article posted on Alipay's official WeChat account: "I really do not have 3.4 billion yuan [7 million]."
"I heard that my fortune alone has reached 3.4 billion yuan, even more than that of Alibaba CEO Zhang Yong," Chen wrote skeptically, noting that his colleagues had started to shun him, doing such things as asking him to pay 500 yuan more for a monthly meal that is shared among a small group of colleagues.
Peng also expressed doubts on her Weibo account on Friday, calling the list "crazy".
Rupert Hoogewerf, founder and chief researcher of the institute, whose Chinese name is Hu Run, told domestic news site iheima.com on Saturday that the list did not maliciously target any individual. "We and Alibaba are not on bad terms and are our businesses are not related … Our principle is to compile the list based on public information from authoritative sources."
The listed individuals' fortunes were estimated based on the market capitalization of Ant Financial, which is public information, he said.