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Top 5 Olympic champion investors and founders in China

The hot Chinese startup scene has helped inspire even Olympic champions to found their own businesses. AllChinaTech has handpicked the top 5 sports track to boardroom stories.

Deng Yaping

Photo from Baidu Images.

Deng Yaping, aged 43, is a Chinese ping pong legend who won multiple world championships and four Olympic championships during her player career.

In October, Deng announced that she is to run an investment fund, named after herself, in her home province Henan in central China. The fund is reportedly worth RMB five billion (USD 725 million).

Ever since her retirement in 1998, Deng worked as an official in the International Olympic Committee, and then in China’s government. In June, the champion resigned from her post as a government official and entered the commercial arena.

Li Ning

Photo from Baidu Images.

Li Ning, 53, was nicknamed “Prince of Gymnastics” when in 1982 he won six of the seven medals awarded at the Sixth World Cup Gymnastics Competition. In 1984, the People’s Republic of China participated in the Olympic Games for the first time, and Li won three gold medals, two silver, and one bronze.

In 1990, Li founded a sportswear company that shared his name. By doing so he became the first athlete turned businessman in China.

In June 2004, Li Ning the company was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the first mainland sports company that went public in Hong Kong.

Liu Xuan

Photo from Baidu Images.

Liu Xuan, 37, is a former gymnast, actress, and startup founder. In the 2000 Summer Olympics, she won China’s first Olympic champion on a balance beam, and became China’s first all around medalist. Liu was also the first female gymnast to perform a one-arm giant swing on the uneven bars, something which is named after her in the Gymnastics Code of Points.

Liu started as an actress when she retired in 2001 and was active in the entertainment circles over these years.

In August, Liu announced her sportswear startup, which sells clothing for jogging and yoga.

Chen Yibing

Photo from Baidu Images.

Chen Yibing, 32-year-old former gymnast, is nicknamed “king of rings” for his winning of the world championship on still rings four times over, and his three Olympic gold medals.

His still rings performance was described as ‘perfect’ and ‘textbook-worthy’, highly acclaimed for its precision and high level of difficulty.

In November 2015, Chen launched his startup project, an exercise app called Xingdong, where Chen is the founder and CEO. The app connects professional coaches and users, covering more than ten cities across China.

Wang Meng

Photo from Baidu Images.

Wang Meng, 31, is a short track speed skater who won two overall world championships. Over her playing career, Wang pocketed four Olympic gold medals, a silver and a bronze.

In June 2016, Wang announced her own sports company that had received RMB 80 million investment. Unlike her predecessors in China who only started their businesses after they retire, Wang is the first founder who still competes in the race course.

Her company currently produces sportswear and is scheduled to expand its business to ice skates and shoes.

Also read: Retired soccer star “China Sun” kicks off an online sports media startup

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