BEIJING -- To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the market reforms that transformed China into an economic powerhouse, officials have published a list of 100 "outstanding" private-sector entrepreneurs who have contributed to the nation's growth.
The rankings predictably feature prominent tech leaders such as Jack Ma Yun and Pony Ma Huateng -- but notably exclude Richard Liu Qiangdong, the chairman and CEO of e-commerce site JD.com, who was arrested in the U.S. in August on suspicion of rape. He was released and allowed to return to China.
The list, jointly released Wednesday by the Communist Party's United Front Work Department and the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, also excludes the heads of real estate conglomerates that took on massive debt to finance offshore acquisitions. Not making the cut are Wang Jianlin, chairman of Dalian Wanda Group; Fosun group Chairman Guo Guangchang; and Chen Feng, chairman of HNA Group.
Many of those making the honor roll hail from the tech industry. There is Jack Ma, chairman of the e-commerce leader Alibaba Group Holding, along with Pony Ma, chairman of chat provider Tencent Holdings. Robin Li Yanhong, CEO of search engine Baidu, is on the list as well.
Liu Chuanzhi, chairman of personal computer maker Lenovo Group, was also named. The heads of smartphone manufacturers were mentioned: Li Dongsheng of TCL, Xiaomi's Lei Jun and Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei. Other tech stars include He Xiangjian, chief of appliance maker Midea Group, and Liu Qingfeng, chief executive of speech recognition outfit Iflytek.
Leaders of the auto industry entered the top 100. They include Li Shufu, the chairman of Zhejiang Geely Holding and a figure considered close to President Xi Jinping. Also recognized are BYD Chairman Wang Chuanfu and Great Wall Motor Chairman Wei Jianjun. Hui Ka Yan, chairman of property developer Evergrande Group, is recognized for his contribution to sports.
Many on the list of top businessmen have experience as representatives to the National People's Congress. Among other factors, it is assumed that the nod is given to those who express loyalty to the party and the government.