It is common practice for a company’s founder or CEO to maintain a social media account to update the public on their company’s newest products and progress. Sometimes, a social media account can be more influential and useful than an entire public relations team.
Here is AllChinaTech’s list of the top 10 entrepreneurs on social media in China, based on their followers and posts in 2016 on Weibo, China’s Twitter.
The majority of entrepreneurs on this list are from the smartphone and home appliance industries, aside from tech guru Kai-Fu Lee and real estate tycoons. Data shows that Jack Ma and Pony Ma are not really active users of social media. Read on for more details:
Weibo followers: 14 million
Luo Yonghao is the CEO of smartphone manufacturer Smartisan, which means “smartphone artisan”. Unlike most smartphones that use either an iOS or Android operating system, Smartisan developed its own and named it Smartisan OS, which features simplicity and design. In the smartphone field, Smartisan competes domestically with Xiaomi.
Founded in 2012, the Beijing-based company was valued at RMB 470 million (USD 72.43M) a year later.
Weibo followers: 15 million
In 2004, Jia Yueting founded China’s Netflix, Leshi Internet Information and Technology Corp, and it was listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in August 2010. A few years after the initial public offering (IPO), Leshi was integrated with other businesses, including smartphone and smart television, as well as EV operations. Together, the giant group has been called LeEco as of this January.
Jia, the founder and CEO of LeEco, was dragged into troubled waters in the second half of 2016, and last month admitted that LeEco’s “extremely fast expansion and great capital challenge”.
Weibo followers: 74,796
Company: Gree Electric Appliances
Dong Mingzhu is the chairwoman and president of China’s largest air conditioning manufacturer, Gree Electric Appliances. Dong is the only female entrepreneur on this list.
In 1996, the company completed an IPO on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. In 2015, it ranked among the top 500 in the Forbes Global 2000 list, and it is ranked number one in the household appliances industry in China.
Dong, arguably the most powerful female tech leader in China, was removed from her post of chairwoman at the manufacturer’s parent company, Zhuhai Gree Corporation, in November.
Weibo followers: 50 million
Company: Sinovation Ventures
Kai-fu Lee is arguably the most well-known figure in the tech sector in both China and Silicon Valley. After resigning as president of Greater China at Google, Lee founded Sinovation Ventures in 2009, an angel investment fund and incubator for tech startups.
Widely regarded as a mentor for young entrepreneurs, Lee loves to share his ideas and give business advice to startups over Weibo.
Weibo followers: 14 million
Lei Jun is the founder and CEO of Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi, whose value reached USD 45 billion in June.
Founded in 2010, Xiaomi is a game changer in China’s smartphone industry. It held 15% of the smartphone market share in China in 2015, according to IDC.
Apart from his position at Xiaomi, Lei is an active angel investor and China’s representative of mobile internet.
Weibo followers: 12 million
Company: Qihoo 360
Zhou is the president of Qihoo 360, a Chinese security software giant. In 2005, Zhou co-founded Qihoo 360 in Beijing. The company offers three major products: a web browser, an app store and a search engine using cloud-based security technology.
Aier Eye Hospital Group Co., Ltd., an ophthalmology medical institution from the southern Chinese city of Changsha, announced in April its USD 30.3 million investment in the internet company, and will hold an 11.44% stake in Qihoo 360.
Weibo followers: 22 million
Jack Ma is the founder of Alibaba, China’s number one e-commerce platform. However, he uses another title on Weibo – Chairman of the Nature Conservancy’s Board of Trustees in China.
The well-known internet tycoon has a down-to-earth name on Weibo – Country spokesman and teacher Jack Ma.
On November 11, Alibaba’s e-commerce arms made new sales records of RMB 120.7 billion (USD 17.8 B) during the Double 11 Singles’ Day shopping festival.
Weibo followers: 67,861
Company: Wanda Group
Wang, chairman of the Wanda Group, is the richest man in China with a net worth of USD 28.7 billion, according to Forbes China’s 2016 survey.
Wanda Group is China’s largest real estate developer and the owner of the world’s largest cinema chain operator.
Weibo followers: 6 million
Yu is senior vice president at Huawei, China’s largest smartphone manufacturer.
In the first half of this year, Huawei’s share in the global smartphone market has grown to 11.4% from 9.9% in 2015.
Yu, who joined Huawei as early as 1993, is active on Weibo, posting updates on the company’s newest smartphones.
Weibo followers: 24 million
Wang founded China Vanke Co., Ltd., a leading real estate developer in 1984. Wang is now the Chairman of Board of Directors at Vanke, which is ranked 356 among the “Fortune Global 500” this year.
Wang is an active key opinion leader on Weibo, and he has published two books based on his work experience.
(All photos from Baidu Images)