CEO Today Top 50 – Ma Huateng
Name: Ma Huateng
Net worth: Approx. $37 billion
Bio: Ma Huateng acquired a Bachelor of Science degree at Shenzhen University, where he studied computer science. His first job put him in charge of developing software for pagers at China Motion Telecom Development, a supplier of telecommunications services and products, where he reportedly earned $176 a month.
Ma Huateng co-founded Tencent in 1998, alongside four of his classmates. After participating in a presentation for ICQ, an instant messaging client popularized by an Israeli company in 1996, Huateng was inspired to make his own product and the company’s first—a similar software with a Chinese interface and different name, OICQ (Open ICQ) launched in February 1999. By the end of that year, the product had over a million registered users, making it one of the largest services of that kind in China.
Time magazine called him one of the world’s most influential people in 2007 and 2014, with Forbes crediting him as one of the world’s most powerful people in 2015. In 2017, Fortune ranked him in the top businessmen of the year.
“Ideas are not important in China – execution is.”