Bloomberg Billionaires Index

View profiles for each of the world’s 500 richest people, see the biggest movers, and compare fortunes or track returns.

#24 Pony Ma $30.7B

Random fact: Considered becoming an astronomer when he was young.

Overview

Ma is the chief executive officer and co-founder of Tencent Holdings, a provider of an instant messaging service with almost 900 million active users. The Shenzhen-based publicly traded company reported revenue of 151 billion yuan ($22.9 billion) in 2016. Its internet platforms include QQ, WeChat and Tenpay.

As of July 21, 2017:
Last change -$99.9M (-0.3%)
YTD change +$9.92B (+47.6%)
Industry Technology
Biggest asset 700 HK Equity
Citizenship China
Age 45
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Pony Ma's net worth of $30.7B can buy ...

0
troy ounces of gold
0
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

0%
of the GDP of the United States
0%
of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
0%
of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
0%
of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
0%
of U.S. existing home sales
0
times the median U.S. household income

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Cash
Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The majority of Ma's wealth derives from his 7.7 percent stake in Tencent Holdings, according to a Hong Kong stock exchange filing dated Nov. 29, 2016. He controls his stake through Advanced Data Services, a British Virgin Islands investment entity. Ma transferred additional Tencent shares valued at $2.3 billion to a charitable foundation in July 2016 and these have been excluded from the net worth calculation. Tencent's QQ messaging service has 861 million users each month, according to its website in June 2017.

The value of his cash investments is based on an analysis of dividends, taxes and market performance. He also owns about $150 million worth of property in Hong Kong based on local media reports.

Canny Lo, a Tencent spokeswoman, confirmed Ma's stake in the internet company and his irrevocable donation to the foundation.

Biography

Birthdate: 10/29/1971
Family: Married, 1 child
Education: 1993, Computer Science, Shenzhen University, Bachelor's Degree

Ma Huateng was born in Shantou, a city in southern China's Guangdong province, in 1971. His father, Ma Chenshu, moved the family to Hainan, an island off the south coast, and later to Shenzhen, near Hong Kong, where he got a job as a port manager. Ma graduated from Shenzhen University, where he studied computer science, in 1993. His first job was developing software for pagers at China Motion Telecom Development, a supplier of telecommunications services and products in Shenzhen. He earned $176 per month.

Along with a Shenzhen University classmate, Zhang Zhidong, Ma co-founded Tencent in November 1998. The company's name in mandarin, Tengxun, means galloping message. Its first product was instant messaging software similar to AOL's ICQ chat service. At first, Ma called the product OICQ, and changed it to QQ a few years later.

The free messaging service attracted more users, requiring more money to maintain it, and in 2000, IDG Venture Investment Fund and PCCW, one of Hong Kong's largest telecom providers, invested $4.4 million in Tencent, each taking a 20 percent stake. Tencent sold shares to the public in Hong Kong in 2004 and is now China's largest internet community, offering services including chat, group messaging, news portals, and entertainment as well as e-commerce. It joined the benchmark Hang Seng Index in 2009, replacing PCCW.

Ma sought to boost his company's competitiveness ahead of the initial public offering of Jack Ma's Alibaba Group, and in August 2014, Tencent expanded its messaging services, using the technology to push customers to its e-commerce partners. Later that month, he teamed with billionaires Wang Jianlin of Dalian Wanda Group and Baidu’s Robin Li in an online shopping venture.

Ma met his wife, Wang Danting, for the first time after three months of chatting on QQ.

Milestones
  • 1971 Ma Huateng is born in Shantou, in China's Guangdong province.
  • 1984 Moves south to Shenzhen with parents.
  • 1993 Graduates from Shenzhen University.
  • 1998 Co-founds Tencent Holding instant messaging company.
  • 2001 Naspers invests $32 million in Tencent for a 47 percent stake.
  • 2004 Company sells shares in a Hong Kong initial public offering.
  • 2014 Tencent buys a 15 percent stake in JD.com for $215 million.
  • 2016 Makes call for China to lower the entry barriers for internet business.