China's internet companies are generating local billionaires
When talking about internet billionaires, everyone thinks of the US, of Bill Gates, Larry Page or Mark Zuckerberg, representing three different generations of tech companies. But US is not the only country to mint this type of billionaires, China is increasingly capable of making tech people very, very rich.In fact, the second richest guy in China, as listed by Forbes, is Robin Li, founder of Baidu, the most popular search engine in the country. His net worth is estimated at $8.1 billion, €6.28 billion.
Like all of China's other internet giants, Baidu has interests far beyond search, going from portals to mobile browsers.
The fourth richest man in the country is another internet billionaire, Ma Huateng worth $6.4 billion, €4.96 billion, founder of the powerful Tencent, which operates under the QQ brand name inside the country, and which has interests and investments in several big internet companies outside of China.
Jack Ma, Alibaba's founder and CEO is just outside the top 10, worth $3.4 billion, €2.64 billion. Alibaba just brought back a piece of itself that Yahoo controlled for over $7 billion, €5.42 billion. The other Tencent cofounder, Zhang Zhidong is a number 13 with a net worth of $2.45 billion, €1.9 billion.
With China's internal market continuing to grow, it's safe to assume that the already rich people will get even richer and that younger entrepreneurs are on their way to breaking into the top 100 list as well.
China is already the biggest internet market, a market that is dominated by local players. Few outside companies have had even moderate success in China, partly due to not being able to adjust to the local conditions, partly because China would much rather have its own companies grow.
So far, though, apart from Tencent, few of China's internet companies have shown any interest in the outside world. There's been talk of Alibaba opening up a US site, but nothing major has happened with that.