Two of the world’s fastest rising executives may be from China, but they also have strong roots in the Triangle.
Both also are young.
Lenovo’s Chairman and CEO Yang Yuanqing, 48, cracks Forbes’ latest richest people from China. Not as well known locally but a regular member of the Forbes list is Ma Huateng, 42, the Internet billionaire who owns a big stake of Cary-based Epic Games.
Yang, who is known as “YY” by Lenovo’s employees, cracked the Forbes list for the first time as his personal net worth rose to an estimated $800. He came in No. 250 on the list, which Forbes published today.
Ma, who is nicknamed “Pony” and runs China Internet giant Tencent, ranks No. 5 on the Forbes list with a net worth estimated at $10.2 billion.
Tencent bought a minority – but still big – stake in privately held Epic a year ago. He paid $400 million for a 40 percent ownership.
Yang is the most familiar of the two by far in local circles. He has maintained a residence in the Triangle almost from the day China-based Lenovo bought IBM’s PC division in 2005. YY is not here as often any more, however, as his children are being schooled in his native country.
Forbes praises Yang for directing Lenovo to the top of the world’s PC seller ranks as well as becoming No. 3 in Internet-connected devices. The latter achivement reflects his “PC Plus” strategy that is designed to help Lenovo diversify and capitalize on tablets as well as smartphones. However, he also remains committed to selling computers. Lenovo is constantly introducing new devices, embracing other operating systems beyond Windows, and next week is unveiling Hollywood star Ashton Kutcher as its newest endorser along with new products.
Yang also was praised by Forbes for his decision to share his annual bonus with employees.
“If good business results weren’t enough, youthful Yang received won great press in China in September when he once again shared a company bonus with workers,” Forbes noted.
Ma is one of a record 168 billionaires in China as calculated by Forbes.
“His fortune has climbed from $6.4 billion a year ago as Tencent’s Hong Kong-traded shares surged more than 50%,” Forbes notes. “Tencent makes most of its money from online gaming but pushed into online search in September, paying $448 million for a 36% stake in Sohu.com’s Sogou unit.”
The Forbes report about China’s richest can be read online.