William Ding Lei, 32-year-old founder of Netease.com, has been named the richest entrepreneur in mainland China with a fortune estimated at $900 million – according to a list released by Asiamoney magazine – thanks to the booming sales of online games and messages, which spurred a revival in Chinese high-tech stocks.
He is followed by Larry Yung, head of the government-backed investment company Citic Pacific Ltd., who has $850 million. Seen by many as a barometer of the economy and China's economic reforms, the annual list of 100 millionaires is compiled by Rupert Hoogewerf, an independent Shanghai-based researcher.
Charles Zhang, the founder of Sohu, dropped from the list in 2001 with the collapse of the dotcom boom – he is now back at 20th, with assets estimated at $265 million. The youngest on this year's list is Li Zhaohui, 22, who inherited his wealth from his father, Li Haichang, who was shot to death in his office earlier this year by a failed businessman who then killed himself.