Chen Tianqiao

Founder and chief executive officer, Shanda Interactive Entertainment

by
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Who is he? Dubbed China's Bill Gates, Chen, 32, was China's richest man, with a US$1.5 billion fortune, before shares in his Shanda internet gaming company tumbled last year. He is now 10th, with holdings valued at a mere $1 billion. It was surely a humbling experience.

How did he make his millions? The economics graduate was in real estate before starting Shanda with $3 million of venture capital in 1999. It sold cartoons online, but Chen refocused it, creating a national obsession with his multiplayer online game (MMORPG). Nasdaq-listed Shanda now has an army of young game developers.

The secret of his success? Chen has a nose for technology trends. Because of rampant piracy in China, he distributed the game for free and sold pre-paid subscriptions for internet-based multi-player versions, quickly making money. 'You have to be ready to go out and take risks if you want to win profits,' says Chen.

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