Ex-Google Engineer Becomes China’s Third-Wealthiest Billionaire

Colin (Zheng) Huang, surged into the spot of China’s second-wealthiest person on Sunday before settling for third-wealthiest on Tuesday.

Rise to riches: Earning a degree from the elite Zhejiang University based in Hangzhou with an acceptance rate of less than 0.5%, Huang later earned his master’s degree in computer science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The 40-year-old entrepreneur built his empire after working as an intern at Microsoft in Beijing and Seattle and then moved on to be an engineer for Google in 2004. According to his 2016 Medium blog post, he worked there for three years as a “software engineer and then product manager,” after his mentor suggested that he stay for at least that minimum.

  • Huang recalled his timing at the tech company “a once-in-a-life opportunity.” “Google gave me far more than I contributed,” he wrote.
  • He later left to start his first e-commerce site, Ouku.com, in 2007 and sold it in 2010; next was a marketing service called Leqi; after, a gaming startup called Xinyoudi Studio that shipped role-playing games over WeChat, according to “Billionaires on Planet Earth.”

Biggest company yet: From an early retirement into a burgeoning genius idea, Huang would still have room for financial growth.

  • In 2013, Huang retired at 33 from an ear infection. Two years later, he created his megahit brainchild, Pinduoduo (PDD), according to Bloomberg.
  • The e-commerce operating giant is a near-fusion of Alibaba and Tencent Holdings, combining shopping and gaming.
  • PDD rose in popularity in China due to COVID-19, from 50 million orders to 65 million, featuring “team buying, where customers come together to purchase more units at a lower price,” and offering games for customers to play on the site that reward them “with free gifts,” according to BBC News.
  • In 2017, the startup would go on to raise more than $100 million and then be valued at $1.5 billion in just two years.

Current rankings and titleholders: As of this writing, Huang dropped down back to the third-richest person in China, after a dip in PDD’s value, according to Forbes‘ real-time billionaires list.

  • Ma Huateng, otherwise known as Pony Ma, holds the title of China’s richest as the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Tencent, the largest gaming company in the world. His net worth is $55.3 billion.
  • Jack Ma, a known philanthropist and the co-founder of Alibaba, an e-commerce giant, has a net worth of $44.5 billion.
  • With about less than a billion dollars apart to reclaim the second-place title, Huang’s net worth is $43.8 billion.
  • However, the current person to reign supreme on the billionaire’s list is Amazon’s Jeff Bezos at $165.2 billion.

Feature Image Screenshots via CNBC Television

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