Wang Chuanfu, founder and chairman of BYD Co., attends a news conference in Hong Kong, China, on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. Shares of BYD Co. plunged the most in two years after Chinas biggest maker of electric cars predicted a decline of as much as 92 percent in first-quarter earnings, citing decreased government subsidies on new-energy vehicles. Photographer: Billy H.C. Kwok/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesBilly H.C. Kwok—Bloomberg/Getty Images
Wang was among the first corporate leaders to implement a major pivot to meet virus-driven demand. In late January, when the COVID-19 crisis was accelerating in China, Wang created a task force to design and build new production lines to manufacture face masks and hand sanitizer—goods now in demand worldwide. Today, the Shenzhen-based electric-vehicle maker claims to be the world’s largest manufacturer of surgical masks, churning out 5 million a day.