Richest Man in China: BYD Boss Wang Chuanfu Tops Rich List Thanks to Batteries & Electric Cars
Photo: Michael Graham Richard
Money to Be Made Replacing Fossil Fuels
Wang Chuanfu (in Chinese: çŽ‹ä¼ ç¦) founded BYD in 1995 at the tender age of 29. Now, 14 years later, BYD is the world's biggest manufacturer of mobile phone batteries and has been working on electric cars for a few years. While it's not yet clear if it will be successful at selling the cars themselves or if they will end up as a battery supplier for other car makers, its potential is undeniable and even Warren Buffett felt he needed a piece of the action (with not one but two investments). All this has reportedly made Wang Chuanfu's personal fortune increase about six-fold to $5.1 billion, making him the richest man in China according to the Hurun Report and Forbes China.Bloomberg writes:
Wang's worth leapt from $880 million last year after a unit of Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. agreed to buy a 10 percent stake in BYD. The company's F3 has also become China's bestselling car this year, as BYD pushes beyond its traditional focus on making rechargeable batteries for mobile phones. [...]
The company has a market value of HK$140.7 billion ($18.2 billion), according to Bloomberg data. Wang, 43, owns 28 percent, according to the Hurun Report statement.
Without the focus on electric cars and batteries for EVs, it is doubtful that Buffett would have invested in the company.
Wang would rank 40th on the U.S. rich list, according to the Shangai Daily.
Trivia: There are about 130 known billionaires (in U.S. dollars) in China, but there could be about as many as that operating under the public radar.
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