Chinese business magnate Ma Huateng, or Pony Ma, is best known as the founder, chairman, and CEO of the technology giant Tencent. His company owns the messaging app WeChat. One of CEOWORLD’s Most Powerful People in the World, he was a delegate of the 12th National People's Congress.
Known as the King of Gambling, Stanley Ho built the biggest casino empire in Asia. Through his flagship firm SJM Holdings, he owned 19 casinos in Macau. He singlehandedly transformed the former Portuguese colony of Macau to a bustling gambling hub. He had 17 children from his four wives.
Ren Zhengfei is a Chinese engineer and entrepreneur. He is credited with founding Huawei, the second-largest manufacturer of smartphones and the largest manufacturer of telecommunications equipment in the world. He also serves as the CEO of Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. In 2005, Ren Zhengfei was named in Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world list.
Wang Jianlin is a Chinese business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. He is the founder of the Chinese multinational conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group. Beginning his career as an army man, he entered real estate development after leaving the military, gradually expanding his business ventures. One of the richest men in China, he is also a generous philanthropist.
Vincent Tan is a Malaysian Chinese investor and businessman. He is credited with founding Berjaya Corporation Berhad, a Malaysia-based corporation that operates a wide range of businesses. In 2010, Tan was named in the Forbes' billionaire list. Also known for his philanthropic efforts, Vincent Tan founded the Better Malaysia Foundation, which grants scholarships and interest-free loans to students in need.
Best remembered for creating a new writing system that allows Mandarin to be written in Roman alphabets, Chinese economist Zhou Youguang started working on the project in 1955, reaching his goal after three years of labor. Known as Father of Pinyin, he has also authored forty books, most notable among them being The Historical Evolution of Chinese Languages and Scripts.
John Gokongwei began supporting his family as a street peddler at 13, after his father’s death. The billionaire Filipino businessman is the owner of JG Summit. Over the course of his successful business career, he has owned a host of businesses, from a corn-milling plant to an instant coffee brand.
11 Ken Xie
Ken Xie was born to academic parents who wanted him to be a professor. The Stanford alumnus studied engineering and ventured into entrepreneurship instead, co-founding the cybersecurity firms Fortinet and Netscreen. The billionaire businessman was named to Forbes 400 in 2020. He is the father of fashion influencer Jaime Xie.
12 Joseph Lau
Former CEO of Chinese Estates, Hong Kong businessman and real-estate magnate Joseph Lau is an art lover, too, and owns art work worth at least a billion dollars. He was convicted of bribery and sentenced to prison but remains a fugitive due to extradition issues between Macau and Hong Kong.
13 Morris Chang
Though Morris Chang initially aspired to be a writer, he was discouraged by his father from pursuing writing as a career option. The Stanford and MIT alumnus became an engineer instead. The IEEE Medal of Honor winner is known for establishing the world’s first silicon foundry, the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company.
14 Lucy Peng
One of the 21 self-made women billionaires in China, Peng Lei worked as a teacher before co-founding Alibaba Group with her husband Sun Tongyu and Jack Ma. Later, she founded Alibaba’s affiliate, Ant Financial Services Group, operating one of the largest mobile and online payments platforms Alipay, quickly expanding her business worldwide and increasing the company valuation to $60 billion.
15 Li Yonghong
16 Ohno Taiichi
Japanese businessman and industrial engineer Ohno Taiichi is remembered for his efforts toward the reduction of muda, or waste, and the implementation of the kanban, or just-in-time system in Toyota. His popular books on manufacturing include Toyota Production System and Just-in-Time for Today and Tomorrow.
17 Lim Goh Tong
Malaysian-Chinese businessman Lim Goh Tong is best known for transforming Genting Highlands in Malaysia to a bustling hub of gambling, with a world-class casino resort. His memoir, My Story – Lim Goh Tong, speaks about his struggle from being a machine trader to a successful entrepreneur.
18 Gu Kailai
Gu Kailai is best known as the second wife of CCP Politburo member Bo Xilai. Daughter of Gu Jingsheng, a CCP bureaucrat, Gu served as a lawyer and wrote two bestsellers, before being convicted of killing a British businessman named Neil Heywood. Her death sentence was later commuted to life.
19 Lü Buwei
Lü Buwei was a Chinese politician and businessman of the Qin state. He played a major role in helping Zhuangxiang become the heir apparent to the throne. Subsequently, Lü Buwei was appointed as the chancellor when Zhuangxiang ascended the throne. Over the years, he has been portrayed in many films, such as The Emperor and the Assassin.
20 Jimmy Lai
A long time champion of Hong Kong’s prodemocracy movement, Jimmy Lai is also an established entrepreneur, founder of clothing retailer Giordano, media company Next Digital and popular newspaper Apple Daily. A prominent critic of Chinese Communist Party, he became the first high-profile figure to be charged under the new national security law and eventually sentenced to additional fourteen months' imprisonment.
Son of shipping magnate and Orient Overseas founder C.Y. Tung, Tung Chee-hwa was educated in Hong Kong, Britain, and the U.S. before taking over the leadership of his family business. He later became the chief executive of Hong Kong and is still known as the “kingmaker” of Hong Kong’s politics.
22 Li Ning
Legendary Chinese gymnast Li Ning not only has 3 Olympic gold medals in his kitty but is now also a billionaire entrepreneur and the owner of a self-titled sports apparel and equipment brand. Starting training at age 8, he later earned the unofficial title of the Prince of Gymnastics in China.
23 An Wang
Born in Shanghai, An Wang studied electrical engineering before moving to Harvard to get his PhD. The Wang Laboratories co-founder is remembered for inventing the magnetic core memory, which was the main component of computers till the invention of the microchip. He also developed many word-processing systems.
Uyghur businesswoman and human rights activist Rebiya Kadeer, who was nominated for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, was initially a housewife. Following her divorce, she opened her laundry business, which developed into a women’s bazaar. She was later arrested for revealing sensitive information but escaped to the U.S.
25 Lee Shau-kee
26 H.H. K'ung
H. H. Kung was a Chinese politician and banker best known as the husband of Soong Ai-ling, one of the Soong sisters. Kung was highly influential in formmulating the economic policies of the Nationalist government in the 1930s and 1940s.
27 T.V. Soong
Born to industrialist Charlie Soong, T.V. Soong was educated at Harvard. He initially funded the Nationalist Party and set up the Central Bank of China. He later served as the foreign minister and finance minister of China. He choked to death on a piece of chicken at a dinner party.
28 Vivien Yeo
29 Gerald Chan
30 Li Ruigang
31 Nina Wang
32 George Zho
33 Xu Ming
34 Joyce Chen
36 Wang Laichun
37 Yang Bin
38 Zhang Jian
Apart from being an entrepreneur, Zhang Jian was also a social reformer. Starting with the Dasheng Cotton Mill, he expanded his business to other sectors, such as oil and shipping. One of the most significant figures of Chinese modernization, he also built schools, clinics, roads, and libraries.
39 Pocket Sun
Chinese entrepreneur Pocket Sun gained international attention when she founded SoGal Ventures, the first cross-border female-led venture capital firm. The University of Southern California alumna also leads the SoGal Foundation and Trojan Ventures. At 24, she became one of the youngest to grace the Forbes cover.
Robert Charles Chien is an entrepreneur who serves as a managing director for an entertainment software company. He started hogging the limelight after marrying popular Filipina singer and actress, Lea Salonga. The couple met when Salonga was performing in Flower Drum Song.