Net Worth: China has quickly become a global powerhouse in terms of economic output and growth. Formerly a communist economy, the Chinese government in the past few years has loosened its stance regarding private ownership and the ability to found a private business. As a result, many of the world's millionaires and billionaires are now found in China where, unsurprisingly, technology start-ups dominate the entrepreneurial landscape. (For more, see: Investing in China.)
The Wealthiest Chinese Entrepreneurs
Most of China's newly minted millionaires come from a tech background. Given the access to low-cost electronics, it makes sense, but many of the billionaires on this list made their money in traditional businesses like energy supply and mining.
Net Worth: $9 billion
Liu is the founder of PC maker Lenovo (LNVGY). Created in 1984 in a “garage” near the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing as a small computer reseller, Lenovo is the world's second-largest maker of PCs, including desktops, notebooks and servers. Lenovo famously acquired IBM's (IBM) PC business in 2005.
Net Worth: $6.5 billion
China's version of Amazon (AMZN), JD.com (JD), was founded in 1998 by Liu Qiangdong, experiencing a relaunch in 2004. The ecommerce giant boasted nearly $15.8 billion in sales in the first quarter of 2018 and has almost a 50% market share in Chinese ecommerce.
Net Worth: $14 billion
Lei founded Xiaomi, one of the largest mobile phone producers in the world. Created in 2010 to manufacture inexpensive smartphones, it has also branched out into app development through its subsidiaries Kingsoft and Cheetah Mobile. Jun also created internet services provider Xunlei.
Net Worth: $11.3 billion
Wang is the chairman of Amer International Group, a company dealing in metals and mining as well as industrial products. Wenyin has capitalized on China's increasing demand for raw materials and metals in building its cities and infrastructure.
Net Worth: $8.8 billion
Zong founded food and beverage maker Hangzhou Wahaha Group, which started as a small shop in a children's school in the city of Hangzhou. The company's core products are bottled water and tea drinks that are exceedingly popular throughout Asia.
Net Worth: less than $1 billion
Li is the chairman of renewable energy giant Hanergy Holding Group, which specializes in solar panel technology. Capitalizing on strong government incentives in China to develop and extend alternative energy sources, Hejun made a fortune that put his net worth over $13 billion. Since his peak, his companies have fallen on some hard times, and his net worth is not what it once was. His company also runs one of the world's largest hydroelectric power plants.
Net Worth: $28.1 billion
Wang Jianlin owns Dalian Wanda Group, a conglomerate consisting of luxury hotel properties, commercial real estate and ecommerce ventures. Jianlin is worth tens of billions due to the incredible property boom that China has experienced over the past decade. He also has a large stake in the European futbol club Atletico Madrid.
Net Worth: 36.5 billion
"Pony" Ma Huateng is the founder of Tencent (TCEHY), China's largest internet service provider. The company grew to attract over 440 million users by also offering online games and free add-on services such as text messaging. Tencent owns a substantial portfolio of alternative business ventures.
Net Worth: $12.8 billion
Robin is the CEO and Chairman of Baidu (BIDU), China's number one search engine, sometimes referred to as China's Google. Li first worked as a senior computer engineer at American internet startup Infoseek. Li co-founded Baidu in 2000 and since its inception has dominated the Chinese search engine market. (For more, see: Baidu vs. Google.)
Net Worth: $37 billion
Ma founded Alibaba Group (BABA). Alibaba was created in 1999 as a Chinese ecommerce site reminiscent of Amazon or eBay. It soon found popularity as a place for Chinese factories to offer their products in bulk worldwide. In 2018, it had over 75 million users and operates in 240 countries. Alibaba was the biggest IPO of 2014 and one of the largest ever. Ma is often listed as the richest man in China. (For more, see: 5 Things to Know About the Alibaba IPO.)