Huateng "Pony" Ma
BEIJING, CHINA - OCTOBER 17: (CHINA OUT) Pony Ma, Executive Director, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, co-founder of Tencent, attends a press conference for the strategic cooperation between Tencent and JD.com on October 17, 2015 in Beijing, China. The theme of the press conference is that Tencent and JD.com aim to develop new electric brand of Brand-Commerce together with their optimum resources in the future. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)Photograph by ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images
- TitleChairman and CEO
Tencent’s WeChat social network has 700 million users and is as ubiquitous in China as Facebook is outside it. That helps make Ma the 10th-richest person in tech (Tencent’s shares rose 20% last year) and someone with a major influence on shaping the habits of China’s growing middle class. Already Tencent’s WeBank is extending loans to Chinese consumers not well served by state-owned banks. Tencent’s dominance has come with concessions: Researchers say WeChat is increasingly monitored by the government. It will remain Ma’s balancing act to keep both users and censors happy.