The Top Twenty People: Successful and Distasteful
THE LEADING ENTREPRENEURS OF 2012
In December 2012, Entrepreneurs’ Daily (Qiyejia ribao 企业家日报) published its selection of China’s leading entrepreneurs under the headline of ‘Relaxed and Confident, Measuring their Forward March’ (Congrong yu zixin zhangliang tamende bufa 从容与自信 丈量他们前行步伐).
Pony Ma (Ma Huateng)
Founder of Tencent, a provider of Internet and mobile services and online advertising. In 2012, the number of registered users of Tencent’s mobile social app Weixin (WeChat) exceeded 200 million.
Jack Ma (Ma Yun)
Founder of Alibaba, a B2B (business-to-business) online marketplace. Alibaba had a huge 2012, with its Taobao online mall, for example, notching up a record sales total for one day of 19.1 billion yuan.
Robin Li (Li Yanhong)
Chairman of Baidu, a China-based Internet search engine. Li shifted Baidu’s focus to cloud computing this year.
CEO of Wanke Property Development. Under Yu’s leadership, in 2012 Wanke made a series of foreign acquisitions and entered a number of Western markets.
CEO of Lenovo, the major Chinese electronics firm. In 2012, Lenovo became the world’s leading seller of PCs.
Chairman of Huawei, the networking and telecommunications equipment and services company. With Huawei going from strength to strength, Ren entered the Forbes Rich List in 2011, and was named China’s most influential global business leader by Fortune magazine in 2012.
Founder of the construction machinery firm Sany. Regularly featured prominently on lists of the rich and influential, Liang steered Sany to the high-profile acquisition of a German firm in 2012.
CEO of the Chinese oil and gas giant China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC). In November, Fu was chosen by his peers as Global Oil Industry Leader of 2012; under Fu’s stewardship, the Corporation has ventured into shale gas exploration.
CEO of Wanda Real Estate. In 2012, Wanda completed its acquisition of a cinema chain in the United States, making it the largest operator of cinemas worldwide.
Former CEO of Jinshan Software, founding CEO of Xiaomi, a mobile phone manufacturer. Lei won a number of awards this year for his innovations in mobile Internet systems, and was named China Central Television’s 2012 Economic Cutting-edge Personality.
CEO of consumer electronics and home appliances company Haier. In 2012, Haier acquired Fisher & Paykel Appliances of New Zealand.
Founder of New Hope, China’s largest producer of fodder and largest livestock company. In 2012, Liu featured prominently in the official media for his work in developing plans for food security for farmers and urban centres.
THE MOST HORRID PEOPLE OF 2012
In the last week of November 2012, a list of ten polarising characters associated with nationalist rhetoric circulated briefly on Sina Weibo before being abruptly deleted. Titled the ‘Top Ten Horrid People’ (Shi da exin renwu 十大恶心人物), the list is comparable to the list of ‘traitors’ (hanjian 汉奸) that was drawn up by neo-Maoist nationalists at the end of 2011 and published in China Story Yearbook 2012. The controversial anti-fraud crusader Fang Zhouzi enjoys the distinction of making both lists. Following is the list of the Top Ten Horrid People of 2012, as reported and explained by the China Media Project at Hong Kong University, republished here with permission and slight modification.
A well-known Mao-style leftist, also dubbed the ‘anti-American warrior’. He famously said that fighting America was his work, while travelling to America was a lifestyle choice.
A Peking University professor with a brutal, haranguing media style. During one rant he famously described the people of Hong Kong as ‘dogs’.
A professor at Beihang University and a representative figure of China’s New Left. During anti-Japanese protests in Beijing in September 2012, Han slapped an old man for taking issue with the use of the slogan ‘Mao Zedong, we believe in you’.
Wu Danhong (a.k.a. Wu Fatian)
A professor at Beijing’s Renmin University who frequently decries dissident opinion on the Internet. He himself has been derided as a representative figure of the allegedly paid commentariat ‘Fifty-cent Party’ (Wumao dang 五毛党) (for more on the Fifty-cent Party, see the 2012 Yearbook and Chapter 6 below). His alter-ego, Wu Fatian, refers to a saying once used by Mao Zedong: ‘I’m like a [bald-headed] monk carrying an umbrella: I have no hair [fa 发 a homonym for law 法] or heaven above [tian 天]’ (heshang da san: wu fa wu tian 和尚打散无发/法无天).
President of Beijing University of Posts and Communications, Fang is the architect of the online censorship system; he is known as ‘the Father of China’s Great Firewall’ (see Chapter 6).
A professor at China National Defense University, Zhang holds views that invariably reflect a high degree of conformity with those of the authorities; he is a special commentator on military affairs for the national broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV). In 2012, he told a reporter that: ‘The most important qualification for an outstanding TV news commentator is not knowledge but political character and moral fibre. Political character demands that you must unconditionally maintain unity with the Party.’
A reporter with CCTV, Rui has made a reputation for himself by asking awkward questions at international forums. At the Davos Forum in Dalian in 2011, for example, he asked US Ambassador Gary Locke if he had travelled economy class as a way of reminding the Americans ‘that the US owes China money’. He became a laughing stock online.
A complex figure, Fang was originally a manager for an overseas website. Following his return to China, he became a full-time science cop exposing academic grifters and was dubbed a ‘fraud-fighter’ by the media. He made his reputation by questioning and criticising public figures, yet he has also willingly taken on a public role on behalf of the authorities in suppressing proscribed religious activities.
Editor-in-Chief of the Global Times newspaper. Global Times is the mouthpiece of China’s nationalistic left and has been called the ‘headquarters of China’s angry youth’.
A leading revivalist Maoist theorist and frequent contributor to the radical website Utopia (Wuyou zhi xiang 乌有之乡).