The Top 10 Chinese Tech Moguls You Need to Know
11:22 am, May 3rd | by
While Google, Apple and Facebook may reign supreme in Silicon Valley, 20 percent of the world’s population lives in China, so you better bet there are some major power players in the burgeoning Chinese tech scene. Admittedly, this rundown of China’s tech titans — and the influence they wield — is based on our (fairly subjective) opinion. But, as far as we’re concerned, you better know these ten power players.
Charles Chao - Sina:
Chao is a former journalist and now head of Sina, a major Chinese media company which operates news and entertainment portals. Despite the Chinese government's stringent control over media, Chao was able to create and get the government okay on Sina's microblogging service that's gaining traction fast. Not that we're experts in Chinese media rules or anything, but that's fairly impressive.
Ding Lei - Netease: We doubt this one-time wealthiest man in China is dwelling much on losing his nation's richest title -- after all, he's the co-founder and CEO of Netease, one of China's largest Internet companies. Netease operates
one of China's largest webportals, 163.com and has also invested in the online gaming industry. (Which has certainly worked for some of the other top Chinese tech titans on our list.)
Duan Yongping - BBK Electronics: Yongping is the founder and current CEO of BBK Electronics, which produces consumer electronics like TVs and MP3 players, primarily for the Russian market. Previously, he was a founder and CEO of Subor Electronics, which was a top producer of the "learning computer." Yongping is sometimes called the "Chinese Warren Buffett" for his stockpicking prowess -- he was the second largest shareholder in the previously mentioned (and highly successful) Netease, for example. In 2006, Yongping actually met Buffett, when he
shelled out $620,100 as the highest bidder in an auction to have lunch with Buffett.
Jack Ma - AliBaba/ChinaPages:
Ma founded AliBaba, which is a group of web-based portals that facilitate business-to-business trading, retail, payment and cloud-computing. The company, which has had lots of foreign investments, also operates Yahoo! China. Before AliBaba, Ma founded China Pages, which is considered to be China's first Internet company.
Liu Chuanzhi - Lenovo:
Chuanzi was a co-founder of computer manufacturer Lenovo and still runs the company. Lenovo is currently the world's fourth largest PC manufacturer, behind HP, Dell and Acer.
Ma Huateng - Tencent:
Huateng founded Tencent, often dubbed "China's answer to AOL" and currently the world's third largest internet company after Google and Amazon. Tencent's original product, a messenger service called QQ, is the largest online community, with close to 640 million users.
Robin Li - Baidu:
While Google may seem ubiquitous, it's had a tumultuous history in China. Baidu, which Li co-founded,
outshines Google by a landslide in China as the country's leading search engine. And (just a little FYI) Forbes places Li as China's current richest man.
Shi Yuzhu - Giant Interactive:
Yuzhu is the CEO and chairman of Giant Interactive, a major online gaming company in China. It would seem "Giant" was a fortuitous name for the company, which has been known to often outperform its competitors.
Sunny Liu - 51 Wan:
Liu is the founder and CEO of
online gaming company 51 Wan. Though it's only been around since 2007, they've been able to secure considerable venture capital funding from outside China. While her company is still growing, we'd say Liu is one to watch.
Yizhou "Joe" Chen - Renren/Oak Pacific:
Chen founded "China's answer to Facebook" Renren, which is now part of his Oak Pacific Holdings,
a social networking conglomerate that owns some of China's largest social networking services. It is believed that the company will IPO later this month, under Chen's direction.