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.