As recreational drone popularity takes off, so has the wealth of DJI founder Frank Wang Tao, whose company is the world’s biggest consumer drone maker.
And at 36, Wang is also Asia’s youngest. The China native founded DJI 11 years ago from his dorm room at the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, later setting up a manufacturing hub in nearby Shenzhen.
Today, DJI dominates the drone market, particularly in the price zone exceeding $1,000, where more serious hobbyists and professional filmmakers are. Analysts say it doesn’t compete aggressively in the sub-$500 category, where it faces hundreds of other companies gunning for the “toy” category.
Atop the list for Asia is Alibaba’s Jack Ma, at 7th place with $37.4 billion. Alibaba is China’s top e-commerce player, and also owns wildly successful Taobao retail platform.
In November, Alibaba moved $17.8 billion in sales during its Singles’ Day shopping sale — the equivalent of Black Friday in the U.S. Also consider that Black Friday only moved $4.45 billion in 2015, in comparison.
In 8th place on the Forbes list is Pony Ma Huateng, the owner of Tencent at $36.7 billion. Tencent operates, amongst a deluge of web properties, China’s dominant messenger app, WeChat.
WeChat’s wallet function is so successful, it’s practically ubiquitous in real-life use in China, where people use it for everything from paying street vendors, to getting the cheque at restaurants and shops by scanning a QR code.