Top 7 Most Powerful Business People in Asia

Fortune Magazine has a new list: The Most Powerful People in Asia. Considering that in the western regions the world is mostly in  recession, it is now becoming more important to know who are the people who rules the business in the the only side of the world which is actually growing. But if you  think that Japan, the Asia’s superpower, rules this list, think again (only one person from Japan made our Top 7 list!). Here please find an excerpt of the list with the Top 7 Most Powerful Business People in Asia:

1. Akio Toyoda

Company: Toyota Motor

Country: Japan

Title: CEO

Age: 55

Toyoda presides over Asia’s largest company — and perhaps its most influential. When Toyota Motor stumbles, as it did in 2010 when safety problems forced the company to recall several of its bestselling models, millions of consumers around the world feel the impact. And when it innovates, the rest of the auto world takes notice — and often follows suit. So 14 years after the arrival of the Prius, Toyoda is pushing the company to produce a lineup of 10 new hybrid models by 2015. He’s also keenly focused on growing in emerging markets such as China and India, which account for 40% of Toyota’s $223 billion in annual sales. Toyoda, who has been CEO for two years, has already shown he’s powerful; he survived the recall scandal despite speculation that he would be pushed to resign. Now shareholders hope he can steer the auto giant — safely — to more growth.

2. Ratan Tata

Company: Tata Sons

Country: India

Title: Chairman

Age: 73

If anyone can bring coffee culture to tea-crazed India, it is Ratan Tata, whose Tata Group conglomerate spans industries ranging from autos to steel to telecommunications. Tata recently inked a deal with Starbucks aimed at bringing the Seattle chain to India — the latest in a string of alliances that have helped the group grow from a loose federation of companies primarily serving their home country into a $67 billion multinational powerhouse. Joint venture partners include Lockheed Martin, AIG, and Cummins. But Tata also has acquired well-known businesses such as Jaguar Land Rover, Britain’s Tetley Tea, and New York City’s Pierre Hotel. It takes chutzpah to buy such storied brands. To turn them around as Tata has done takes persistence — and power.

3. Mukesh D. Ambani

Company: Reliance Industries

Country: India

Title: Chairman and managing director

Age: 53

Reliance Industries CEO Mukesh Ambani has a reputation as a dealmaker, and indeed, he’s gobbled up assets in telecom, petrochemicals, and energy as part of a strategy to rapidly expand the $45-billion-a-year conglomerate. But Ambani’s dealmaking works both ways: Earlier this year he persuaded British oil giant BP to invest $7.2 billion for a 30% stake in 23 oil and gas assets controlled by Reliance — the largest foreign direct investment India has seen to date. Ambani’s wealth (he’s worth an estimated $27 billion and recently moved into what’s believed to be the world’s first billion-dollar mansion, as you can check in our Top 7 Most Expensive Houses in the World post) makes him a popular subject in the local press, but his business prowess is earning him accolades abroad. To wit: Bank of America in March nominated Ambani to be the first non-American on its board of directors.

4. Kun-Hee Lee

Company: Samsung Group

Country: South Korea

Title: Chairman and CEO

Age: 69

Chairman Kun-Hee Lee transformed Samsung Electronics from a peddler of low-end gadgets to a global leader in cellphones, televisions, and computer chips. The $137-billion-a-year electronics company is most often compared with Hewlett-Packard, but in many ways Samsung is the Apple of South Korea, revered in its home country for its design and innovation as well as its financial performance (profits last year climbed 65% to $14.3 billion). As a result Lee enjoys tremendous clout — despite a corruption scandal that forced him to resign as chairman of Samsung in 2008. In December 2009, President Lee Myung-bak pardoned Lee for a tax-evasion indictment; a few months later the executive returned as chairman.

5. Ren Zhengfei

Company: Huawei Technologies

Country: China

Title: CEO

Age: 67

The public knows little about Ren Zhengfei, the former military officer who runs Huawei, China’s largest telecom equipment maker. But lack of visibility hasn’t stopped Ren from building a global empire that’s playing an increasingly important role in running the world’s phone and Internet networks: The company estimates it grew 28% to $28 billion in revenue last year. Roughly two-thirds of sales come from non-Chinese customers, including Britain’s BT. Huawei’s products and services help keep phone and Internet networks around the world up and running. But security concerns have largely kept Ren and his company out of the one market he covets: the U.S. A new R&D center in California may increase Huawei’s American presence, but analysts expect Ren himself to maintain his usual low profile.

6. Terry Gou

Company: Foxconn Technology Group

Country: Taiwan

Title: Chairman and CEO

Age: 60

If Apple CEO Steve Jobs is one of the most powerful people in business, then Terry Gou, the man who keeps Jobs supplied with iPads and iPhones, might not be that far behind. Gou’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Corp. (and its Foxconn subsidiary) is now one of the world’s largest manufacturers of electronics. Customers include Apple, of course, but also HP, Dell, Sony, and others. Though Foxconn garnered negative publicity for worker suicides in 2010, Gou eventually responded, doubling wages at his largest factories and relocating workers closer to their homes. Foxconn’s clients apparently have been satisfied with Gou’s actions: Hon Hai’s consolidated revenue for the first nine months of last year climbed 51% to $64.1 billion — and the full year looks to be just as strong thanks to demand for the Apple gadgets that Foxconn plays an indispensable role in producing.

7. Gao Xiqing

Company: China Investment Corp.

Country: China

Title: President and chief investment officer

Age: 57

Gao, China’s most powerful fund manager, oversees $332 billion in assets for China’s wholly state owned sovereign wealth fund, CIC. The fund was set up in 2007 with a mandate to earn a higher return for the government. Gao has been instrumental in transforming the fund from one that invested conservatively in public securities to direct private equity investments in foreign companies. In 2010, CIC spent $1.58 billion for a 15% equity interest in AES Corporation, a U.S.-based power company. This year it set up its first foreign representative office in Toronto, looking to invest in Canadian resources and infrastructure. CIC’s growing global investment portfolio returned about 12% in 2009, and the fund’s net income was up 80% to $41.6 billion.

Source: Fortune

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