The People’s Republic of China has grown into an economic powerhouse in recent years, dominating the global market with industries from electronics to clothing. Its incredible growth has earned China a reputation as an international example of innovation and ingenuity. China has also earned a powerful position in international politics, holding a permanent position on the United Nation’s Security Council with the United States, Russia, France, and the United Kingdom.
China has been at the forefront of science and technology for decades. According to Science and Engineering Indicators 2014, China’s science and technology peer-reviewed publications have risen 15% annually since 2011. The nation has been investing heavily in research and development, catching up to the combined expenditures of the European Union. China currently takes second place among the top countries to award PhDs in science and technology to its citizens.
With greater study, research and education, China is becoming one of the most industrious and prosperous countries in the world – and this year, the CEOs of the some of the biggest and fastest growing Chinese companies are cashing in. According to Forbes, there were a full 37 new billionaires in China in 2014 – an astonishing number of new entries for any nation in a single year, contributing to the nation’s record total of 152 billionaires. The following are the ten richest of these brand new billionaires in 2014.
10. Cai Dongqing, 45- $2 Billion
Cai Dongqing is Chairman and Vice President of the entertainment company Guandong Alpha Animation. The company has hit all-time highs at the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, establishing Dongqing among the richest people in China. His stake in the company is at 51%, which equates to just under $1.5 billion. In its infancy, the company sold children’s toys, but it’s now one of the leading animation companies in China.
9. Zhou Hongyi, 43 – $2.1 Billion
Zhou Hongyi’s Qihoo 360 Technology has been on a steady climb as one of the most successful software companies in the world. The company earned billions by specializing in antivirus software and has since moved on to products designed for mobile smartphones. Hongyi holds a 17% share in the company, more than the current President. Hongyi, who is the former head of Yahoo! China, currently earns more than Yahoo’s current CEO, Marissa Mayer.
8. Xue Xiangdong, 55 – $2.3 Billion
Xue Xiangdong is a graduate of Hunan University and the chairman of China’s DHC Software company. The software developer boasts an impressive client list including state-controlled China Development Bank and Agricultural Bank of China. With $163 million raised to help fund new projects, investors are optimistic about its potential growth, helping to double its shares in the past year. He lives in China with his wife and children.
7. Wang Changtian, 49 – $2.3 Billion
Wang Changtian is the President of Beijing Enlight Media and has transformed the company into China’s largest private media and entertainment group. With more than 600 employees, the company was listed on Shenzhen’s GEM Stock Exchange. Under the leadership of Changtian in the last two decades, the company has built the largest TV program distribution network and the largest entertainment video database in China. He has been described as “shrewd and pragmatic” with the “courage” to think and act in the spirit of a true entrepreneur.
6. Jia Yueting, 41 – $2.3 Billion
As chairman and CEO of Leshi Internet Information and Technology, Jia Yueting has transformed the company from LeTV to one of China’s most popular digital video websites. Net profits have risen by 20% – $13 million – and sales have risen to more than $164 million. His stake in this wildly successful company makes Yueting among the richest CEOs in China with a net worth of more than $2 billion.
5. Pang Kang, 58 – $2.5 Billion
Foshan Haitian Flavouring and Food Company Ltd. is China’s leading supplier of seasoning and flavouring products. At the helm of the food giant is Pang Kang. Based in Foshan, China, the company exports to 60 countries across the world with products that range from 8 categories in 200 different varieties. The company went public at the Shanghai Stock Exchange, making Kang billions in February of 2014.
4. Liu Qiangdong, 40 – $2.7 Billion
Liu Qiangdong (nicknamed Lao Liu) founded 360buy.com in 2004. Before founding the company, Qiangdong worked abroad for 2 years in order to gain experience and exposure to the subtleties of business. He then started his own company selling magneto-optical products before the outbreak of the SARS virus forced him to close all of his shops. Qiangdong then migrated the company to a more traditional E-business. By 2007, 360buy.com gained $10 million in foreign investments and sales have increased to hundreds of millions of dollars.
3. Yang Kai. 57 – $2.8 Billion
China’s milk producer Huishan Dairy is chaired by Yang Kai and holds the second-largest herd of dairy cows in China (106,000 Holsteins and 6,200 Jerseys). The company has incredibly wealthy and internationally-known investors including billionaire Cheng Yu-tung, Norges Bank of Norway, Chinese milk producer Yili, and Bao Hua Investments. Led by Kai, the company is in talks with Dutch dairy supplies FrieslandCampina to join forces and produce infant formula. The success of the company in cornering the dairy market has earned Kai a net worth of close to $3 billion.
2. Wang Wenyin, 46 – $4.2 Billion
Wang Wenyin hails from China’s Anhui Province and chairs Amer International Group. The company specializes in the supply and distribution of cable and copper products and has interests in various mining industries. The company owns six industrial parks and four headquarters throughout Asia. In addition to his success as a business leader, Wenyin also serves as a member on the Anhui Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a consulting body to the provincial government. According to Wenyin, as posted on the company’s website, “Learning is the only way to solve all problems.”
1. Li Hejun, 47 – $10.3 Billion
Li Hejun is chairman of China’s largest clean energy business, Hanergy Holding. Li arrived in the Huangdong Province in the 1980s and later developed his business skills in hydropower, buying and building small hydroelectric dams. This work led him to found Jin’anqiao Hydroelectric Project in western China, the world’s largest privately owned hydroelectric dam that generates $500 million a year. Now that he’s made his name in the energy industry, Hejun is moving his focus toward solar power, buying up sustainable solar technologies worth millions.