China's entrepreneurs: statistics
With China making huge inroads into many diverse sectors of the global economy, there are many individual success stories. There are several particular individuals whose drive and ambition truly spotlight the extent of the country's economic progress in recent years. One illustration of the strength of the entrepreneurs comprising China's most successful business people is the net worth of their assets. Of the top 50 recently listed in terms of their estimated net holdings, the combined figure of their accumulated wealth, even at a conservative estimate, stands at around $10 billion. The average wealth of each of China's top 50 entrepreneurs is around $200 million.
Typical amongst this affluent business community are the family of Rong Yiren (formerly of China International Trust and Investment). Rong Yiren was Vice President of China from 1993 to 1998, and was at the forefront of the opening up of the nation to Western investment. His entrepreneurial drive led to his nickname of the ‘Red Capitalist', and he was strongly influential as China began to emerge from the sidelines of the global marketplace. From relatively humble belongings, Rong eventually managed a chain of family mills, surviving the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution to become an astute economic advisor to the Communist Party. Although he passed away in 2005, aged 89, his family wealth is estimated at $1.9 billion.
When the overall pool of talent in China's entrepreneurs is analysed, the average age is revealed to be considerably younger (43). Prior to his death, Rong was the oldest of China's multi-millionaires, while the youngest was William Ding. The latter entrepreneur was born in 1971, and is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of NetEase, the large internet company responsible for 163.com. This is an extremely popular web portal – in one month in 2005 it received over 546 million page views. Indeed, at one point Ding (born Ding Lei) was China's single wealthiest entrepreneur.
Other interesting statistics relating to China's super-rich include the fact that 21 of the top 50 did not even go to college. The main reason for this is the fact that their emergence coincided with the Cultural Revolution, when further education was cut short in many instances. Six of the top business people were educated outside of China, although 88% of them received education in Chinese institutes. Almost 28% of the entrepreneurs made their millions through the internet or other fields of technology, while 10% owed their tremendous success to endeavours in agriculture, and 58% in manufacturing.