China has, in the last twenty years, become home to millions of mobile phone and Internet users. Businesses and the general population have become huge digital consumers and the telecommunications industry has surged - so much so that China is currently renowned for being one of the most tech-savvy countries in the world.
Many of the billionaires on this list are internet pioneers and magnates of the technology industries which have stimulated the country’s economy greatly. Companies such as Alibaba Group, Baidu and Tencent in particular have made big names for themselves both nationwide and worldwide.
However, other sectors are flourishing in China in too: It is currently the biggest automobile market in the world, and because pollution has become a serious problem, new industries such as renewable energy companies have started to appear. Manufacturing groups and real estate have also made the fortunes of some of the richest people among China's over 1.3 billion citizens. The following are those ten elite billionaires as of 2014, according to data collected by Bloomberg and Forbes.
10 Liu Yonghao - $7.1 billion
Liu Yonghao and his three brothers started out as chicken farmers with little to their names. However, the brothers eventually rose to success: their family became famous nationwide for building up a feed business just as China's economic reforms were getting off the ground in the 1980s and 1990s.
9 Richard Liu - $7.4 billion
8 Lei Jun - $8.8 billion
Lei Jun leads the smartphone-making company Xiaomi Tech which has known great success over the past years. Aged 44, Jun is a self-made man. He has often been referred to as the 'Steve Jobs' of China as he has made several world-changing companies and revolutionised the technological industry.
7 Wang Wenyin - $10.5 billion
6 Zong Qinghou - $11.6 billion
5 Li Hejun - $12.9 billion
4 Wang Jianlin - $14.1 billion
3 Ma Huateng "Pony" - $14.3 billion
2 Robin Li - $15.4 billion
1 Jack Ma - $25.5 billion
Entrepreneur Jack Ma founded Alibaba Group, the world’s biggest grouping of e-commerce websites of which he is the current Executive Chairman. Ma has been working on Alibaba since 1999, and is reaping the benefits today: after raising $25 billion from its U.S. IPO, Alibaba has become one of the most valuable tech companies worldwide.
The China-based company operates Taobao, the country’s biggest shopping site and Tmall, which is a platform for brands and retailers. 231 million active buyers use the site which processes over 11.3 billion orders a year across more than 190 countries. Ma is currently the 24th richest person in the world.
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