Forbes magazine regularly comes out with a list of richest people in the world and they've come out with a list of Asia’s youngest billionaires for 2013. On the list are Gree’s Yoshikazu Tanaka from Japan and Fang Wei of Fangda International Industrial Investment of Beijing in China. Forbes also came out with a similar list in 2008, which included several billionaires like Ma Huateng of Tencent Holdings from China and Chu Lam Yiu from Hong Kong. These young, self-made billionaires serve as an inspiration to anyone who believes that hard work—and a bit of cleverness—can indeed make you rich.
1. Yoshikazu Tanaka (36)
Japanese entrepreneur and self-made bilionaire Yoshikazu Tanaka founded social network game site Gree when he was just 26. He has had the distinction of being called “Asia’s Youngest Self-Made Billionaire” by Forbes in 2010. Gree has grown big enough to acquire other companies, including Atlantis Co., Ltd., US social mobile gaming platform OpenFeint, and mobile game developer Funzio. His net worth is estimated to be at $1.9 billion as of April 2013.
2. Fang Wei (40)
Self-made billionaire Fang Wei’s net worth is estimated to be at $1.3 billion according to Forbes. Fang Wei chairs Fangda International Industrial Investment of Beijing. A profile from Bloomberg says that the company invests in carbon, iron, steel, real estate, and pharmaceuticals.
3. Ma Huateng (42)
Ma Huateng co-founded Tencent in 1998. Today, the internet company’s QQ instant messaging tool is very popular in China. Tencent is also currently involved in other businesses including e-commerce and online games. Forbes estimates Ma’s net worth to be a staggering $10.2 billion as of October 2013, up from $6.4 billion from the previous year. Time Magazine named him one of the world’s most influential people in 2007.
4. Chu Lam Yiu (44)
Chu Lam Yiu chairs fragrances and flavourings company Huabao International. Her fortunes may have fallen a bit since her Hong Kong listed company’s shares dropped, but Forbes estimates her net worth to be at around $1.7 billion as of October 2013. According to a profile of the company by Bloomberg, Huabao supplies flavours and fragrances for tobacco, food, and other household products. Huabao also provides research, development, and marketing services to its customers.
5. Robin Li (45)
Robin Li is the co-founder of Chinese online giant Baidu.com. Baidu was founded in 2000 and is now the largest Chinese search engine and gets the lion’s share of local search queries. Li is one of China’s richest men and Forbes estimates his net worth at $11.1 billion as of October 2013. Li has had experience working at several US websites including Infoseek and Go.com.
While there are many billionaires in Asia, many of them inherited their fortunes. A lot of them were able to grow their inheritance and become notable business figures in their own right. The five billionaires on this list, however, stand out because they started companies by themselves, were able to expand those, and reap the rewards of their hard work. Also worth nothing is Huabao International’s Chu Lam Yiu, who is the only female in our short list of young Asian billionaires.
Yoshikazu Tanaka, Fang Wei, Ma Huateng, Chu Lam Yiu, and Robin Li are self-made billionaires that have been featured in Forbes’ list of young Asian billionaires. They serve as inspiration to entrepreneurs who may not have been born with a golden spoon but are determined to build their fortune through sheer hard work. It’s also remarkable how many on this list are from China, serving as a testament to how the country’s economic policies allow entrepreneurs to become not just millionaires, but billionaires.
*This guest post is written by Israel Defeo. He is the writer and online promoter of the leading financial comparison website in Hong Kong, Money Hero. The online portal presents up-to-date and unbiased information about insurance companies, credit cards, loans, deposit accounts and broadband and mobile plans.