In this article we are going to list the 12 most influential Chinese entrepreneurs. Click to skip ahead and jump to the 5 most influential Chinese entrepreneurs.
The People’s Republic of China has evolved into one of the richest countries of the world in just a few decades. According to data published by the World Bank in 2019, the Gross Domestic Product or GDP of China has had a sharp increase since 1990, with the number climbing almost exponentially. David Mann, global chief economist at Standard Chartered Bank, commented on this rapid economic growth, stating that “From the end of the 1970s onwards we’ve seen what is easily the most impressive economic miracle of any economy in history.”
This success can be accredited to a number of reasons. In 2001, China joined the World Trade Organization, beginning the boom of Chinese goods in World trade. Research published by London School of Economics further illustrated this massive increase. By 1985, exports were $25 billion, $15 billion more than what they were 9 years ago in 1976. Just 25 years later, in 2010, exports valued at an amount of $3 trillion dollars; 300 times more than what the value was in 1985.
As trade between nations increased, so did the Chinese public’s interest in entrepreneurship. An entrepreneur is someone who participates in the act of setting up a business, while also bearing the effects of this risk in hope of a profit. A good business idea has the power to rake in millions but getting to that point where profit is being generated consistently can be a long, difficult journey.
The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor is one platform which studies entrepreneurial behavior and attitudes of several countries across the world. Data collected in 2019 for China showed that 9.33 percent of the public (ages 18-64) owned an established business. This included those who are owning and managing a running business that has paid salaries, wages, or any other payments to the owners for more than 42 months. The same platform also displayed data on the attitude of Chinese society towards entrepreneurs. Almost 80 percent of people agreed with the statement that in their country, most people consider starting a business as a desirable career choice.
All this evidence points towards the fact that in general, entrepreneurs are viewed in a quite favorable light by the Chinese public. Because of this, those entrepreneurs who have a considerable reach may have the distinct power of influencing those around them. Whether this is by inspiring the population with their success story, or by introducing a revolutionary idea through their product, Chinese entrepreneurs have affected the general public in one way or another.
For this reason, we have prepared a list of the 12 most influential Chinese entrepreneurs. To prepare their ranking, we have used Fortune China and Forbes as our source, ranking each business leader based on not only their company’s success, but also their influence on the general public. Let us look at the 12 most influential Chinese entrepreneurs, starting with number 12.
12. Zhang Jindong
Date of Birth: March 28, 1963 (age 57 years)
Occupation: Co-founder and Chairman of Suning
Net Worth: $62.1 billion (as of January 2nd, 2021)
The first person to grace our list of 12 most influential Chinese entrepreneurs is 57-year-old Zhang Jindong. Zhang is the chairman of Suning.com, one of the largest retailers in China, and is said to be among the top 3 in the Chinese e-commerce industry. Zhang has certainly come a long way from when he first started the company in 1998 as an air-conditioning store. Throughout the years, he has diverged into many markets, moving from air conditioning to home appliances to online shopping. Zhang is also the owner of a privately-held company called Suning Holdings Group, which is particularly famous for having acquired the famous Italian football club Inter Milan. In 2019, Suning.com acquired 80% of Wanda Department Store and Carrefour China, increasing the reach of his company even further.