William Ding -- China's Maverick Tech Billionaire
Zhao Zhenting
DATE:  Sep 06 2018
/ SOURCE:  Yicai
William Ding -- China's Maverick Tech Billionaire William Ding -- China's Maverick Tech Billionaire

(Yicai Global) Sept. 6 -- Known as a maverick in China's technology circles, NetEase Chief Executive William Ding can often be seen wearing sweatshirts, jeans and sneakers and bears a broad smile. Those unfamiliar with his work would not suspect he was China's richest man on two separate occasions.

Although the market value of Guangzhou-based NetEase is still a long way off those of tech leaders Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, collectively known as China's BAT companies, Ding's personal wealth is still considerable.

Forbes ranked Ding as China's fourth richest man in 2017 at USD17.3 billion, only behind Alibaba's Jack Ma's USD28.3 billion and Pony Ma's USD24.9 billion in the tech sector.

Ding's wealth mainly comes from NetEase stocks. He holds more than 40 percent of the company's equity, over 20 years after founding the company. This is in sharp contrast with Jack Ma's less-than-ten-percent stake in Alibaba and Robin Li's equity in Baidu, which is under 20 percent.

After NetEase branched out into pork production in 2012, Ding also claimed himself a farming entrepreneur. While his Internet peers compete fiercely over online video, acquisitions and artificial intelligence, NetEase kept out of the battlefield but continued to make money.

Ding is the only person in the internet circle who is not anxious and has his own style of gameplay, Qihoo 360 Chairman Zhou Hongyi once said. Ding always plays a personal role when moving forward with projects. When promoting his pork business, Ding conducted tests at a NetEase canteen and at the World Internet Conference, hosted in Wuzhen in China's eastern Zhejiang province.

Sometimes considered as a company that missed the boat on e-commerce, social media, O2O, live-streaming and the sharing economy in general, NetEase has still outwardly maintained an unhurried attitude that goes against the grain in the face of the age of China's tech titans.

Editor: William Clegg

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Keywords:   Chinese Companies,Netease