Jack Ma, China's richest man, is a Communist Party member

Jack Ma, founder of Chinese tech giant Alibaba, is among the world's richest people but he has now emerged as a member of another club: China's 89-million-strong Communist Party.

The billionaire's Communist bona fides were revealed by the 'People's Daily', the party's official mouthpiece, in an article praising contributors to China's development.

He is not the first nor likely the last Chinese super-rich capitalist to join the party, which counts property titan Xu Jiayin and Wanda Group founder Wang Jianlin among its billionaire members.

But Ma's membership had not been known until now as China's richest man had previously suggested that he preferred to stay out of politics.

In Monday's article, the 'People's Daily' said Ma was a party member who has played an important role in pushing China's Belt and Road global trade infrastructure initiative -- a pet project of President Xi Jinping.

He has also been honoured as one of the "outstanding builders of socialism with Chinese characteristics in Zhejiang Province," where Alibaba is based, the daily said.