Founders of two Chinese tech giants are now the richest people in the country, according to latest estimates by Forbes. Jack Ma, Chairman of Alibaba Group, unseated Wang Jianlin of Dalian Wanda Group, China’s largest real estate developer as well as the world’s largest movie theater operator in May to become China’s richest person. As of July 21, Ma has a net worth of $35.4 billion. “Pony” Ma Huateng, Chairman of Tencent Holdings, also surpassed Wang this week as China’s second-richest person. The two tech billionaires rank at No.18 and No.21 worldwide, respectively.

Both founders have gained from significant growth of their companies over the past year. As of June 8, shares of Nasdaq-listed Alibaba were at $125.64, up 62% from a year ago as it continued to meet market expectations. The e-commerce giant reported Q4 2017 revenues of RMB 38.58 billion ($5.61 billion), up 59.5% YoY, a spike driven by its core e-commerce business and growing cloud computing services.

Tencent has so far had a turbulent 2017, first celebrating its Honour of Kings becoming the world’s top grossing mobile game in mid-June only to see backlash a month later as state newspaper People’s Daily described the game as “poison” and called for tighter regulatory controls. In the aftermath, Tencent’s shares plunged as much as 5.1% in Hong Kong trading, wiping $17.5 billion in market value. But the social and entertainment conglomerate quickly made a comeback. On July 17, Tencent’s shares hit record high rising to HK$288.8 ($37.00) per share after China’s state rail operator invited it into its shareholding reform program, according to Caixin.

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Rita Liao

Telling the uncommon China stories through tech. I can be reached at ritacyliao [at] gmail [dot] com.