Chairman and chief researcher of the Hurun report, Rupert Hoogewerf, said Mr Zhu's contribution marks the first time a book royalty donation has made the list.
The former premier is among 71 new philanthropists this year - the highest since records began in 2004.
Mr Hoogewerf said the new names suggested charitable giving by the wealthy was still in its "early stages" in China.
"It shows that charitable donations are still in the early stages, but the fact we are seeing so many new faces shows me that the industry is developing and maturing," he told the ABC.
"Also, it is worth bearing in mind that many donations are made on a one-off basis and thereafter, it is the foundation that makes the annual donations."
China's richest man and founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba, Jack Ma, ranked as China's most generous person, after he donated a 1.4 percent stake in his firm - worth about $2.4 billion - to set up an environment, healthcare and education charity.More in Radio Australia.
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