Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Inside the world of China's super-rich -- Mao who?

Who are the leaders of China's economic miracle? Where do they come from, and what are their wildest ambitions?

A hundred years ago it was the likes of Rockefeller, Ford, Carnegie who were building the future.

With China closing in on America to become the world's biggest economy, the next century belongs to names like... Zong... Dai... Liu.

We had better get used to it.

As I read ever-more hyperbolic accounts of the Chinese economy, its impact on global trade, and the spending spree of its newly rich middle classes, I wanted to find out about the men and women who are leading this transformation.

I was not after the bosses in government and the Communist Party, although they are pulling the levers in their state-controlled society.

I was seeking the people behind the country's explosive economic growth - the top entrepreneurs.

They are the ones building world-beating companies, leading China's export success and creating new jobs by the million.

Thirty years ago the Party denounced entrepreneurs as: "self-employed traders and peddlars who cheat, embezzle, bribe and evade taxation." (read more)

Then the line changed. Deng Xiaoping, the driving force behind the move to capitalism after Mao's death, famously declared ''to get rich is glorious''