Walking through the streets of China’s cities you probably will have already come across the most luxurious mall you’ve ever laid your eyes on next to a broken down slum. The juxtaposition of China’s richest and poorest creates an ever-present effect on those trying to keep up. But who exactly are the richest players in the game? And more importantly, what we all want to know, how did they get there?
The embodiment of the word ‘China’s richest’ is Wang Jianlin, with a fortune estimated at $31.2 billion. This makes him the 18th richest man in the world. He spent his youth in the military and now owns Dalian Wanda Entertainment, who’s studios are located in Qingdao, and a real estate empire on the side.
Wang has recently purchased Legendary Entertainment. An LA based company responsible for films such as Jurassic World and the Batman trilogy. His most recent acquisition? Nordic Cinema Group which he purchased for a mere $930 million.
Wang, like most of us, was not happy with President Trump. During the election he warned Trump that thousands of jobs would be at risk if Trump prevented further purchase of US companies.
Coming soon: the world’s 3 tallest building in Chicago which only cost Wang $900 million.
Second place in China goes to the well-known Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba. While speculations have been circling around Ma’s efforts to reduce the sales of counterfeit products on Alibaba, he is still looked up to by many.
Jack started to learn English when he was young and practiced with foreigners passing through Hangzhou by giving them free tours of the city. It took Ma 4 years to pass the Chinese University entrance exams and after having graduated he applied for and was rejected by 30 different companies, but he never gave up. In 1999 he quit his job and returned to Hangzhou to found Alibaba which gained $25 million foreign venture capital investment in just 1 year.
Nowadays Ma can be found in his castle in Bordeaux or telling Trump how to create 1 million US jobs. His goal is to create 10 million profitable business and 100 million jobs in the next 20 years.
The richest woman in China is Yang Huiyan with an estimated worth of $9.6B. She is the 15th richest person in China and 270th in the world. Yang, however, gained her wealth through obtaining shares of her father’s real estate developer Country Garden Holdings in 2007. What does miss Yang plan to do with her wealth? She will be building 4 man-made islands in Malaysia to create a “green city”. Cause why not?
The second richest woman ($7.5B) is the self-made woman, Zhou Qunfei. She is listed as #61 on the most-powerful-women-in-the-world list. She gained her fortune through designing and developing her company Lens Technology, which manufactures glass covers for mobile phones and tablets. Born in a poor, rural China village, Zhou’s clients now include Apple and Samsung.
Others on the list of China’s richest that cannot be overlooked are Ma Huateng ($25.2B). He is the third richest man in China and founder of Tencent (WeChat and QQ). Ma, however, did a good deed recently and publicly transferred $2B to his charity foundation in April 2016.
Chan Laiwa ($5.6B) is number 24 on the list and is estimated to be the 79th most powerful woman. She owns an international group of real estate developers which have built buildings in Beijing such as the Jinbao tower and the Regent building. China isn’t big enough for Chan as she has plans for hotels in Australia and New Zealand.
Frank Wang is a name that is often heard in the tech industry as he is the founder of DJI Technology, best known for their drones. He founded DJI in his dorm room at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in 2006. This shows that every empire always starts as something tiny.
While these people often make financial headlines, one particular man recently raised eyebrows after being supposedly kidnapped from his luxury residence in the Four Seasons in Hong Kong. Xiao Jianhua moved to Hong Kong to escape president Xi Jinping’s crackdown on corruption and was reportedly kidnapped (where was his entourage of female bodyguards?) and taken to mainland China. Whether this was a forceful kidnapping or not remains a mystery.
Feeling inspired? Do you think you can join the ranks of the world’s richest? Start early and apply for an internship or make your way into one of these companies and work your way up using Chinese you learned in class.