Guess who just happened to overtake Jack Ma – Founder of Alibaba Group – as the second-richest man in China? No, it isn’t one among the usual suspects.
The person is a Shanghai-based e-commerce billionaire named Colin Huang. This news was recently announced by Forbes’ Real-Time Billionaire Index on Sunday.
By now, for sure, you must be curious to know more about this man. And, even more, excited to know how exactly he managed to climb up in the ladder so high from just being an ordinary employee in one of the most valued global technology companies!
Let’s find out more about him!
Colin Huang, who is presently aged 40, is the founder of an e-commerce giant in China known as Pinduoduo. According to Forbes, as of Sunday, the net worth of Collin Huang is estimated $45.4 billion which made him rank second to Ma Huateng, CEO – Tencent Holdings, whose net worth is estimated to be worth $51.5 billion. Huang achieved this feat by leapfrogging the net worth of Jack Ma who recently decided to focus mainly on philanthropy and stepped down as Alibaba’s chairman. The net worth of Jac Ma is estimated $43.9 billion currently.
What’s interesting about Huang is the fact that he’s a former Google engineer. Over the years, however, he has been able to severely narrow down the wealth gap between him and the co-founders of Alphabet Inc, Larry Page ($64.3 billion) and Sergey Brin ($62.6 billion).
Boasting a market capitalization of a whopping $104 billion, Huang-led Pinduoduo which was founded in 2015 has now managed to become China’s third-largest e-commerce giant. Pinduoduo raised $1.6 billion in a U.S. IPO in July 2018. Today, the company is growing faster than its rivals Alibaba and JD.com as more than 300% rise in Pinduoduo’s stock value have been observed in the past year itself.
Pinduoduo leverages its unique USP of the ‘social shopping’ model which encourages users to share links to items they want to purchase with their friends, after which they participate in group buying. It is one of PDD’s biggest appeal because when more people join in, the price of that particular item tends to go down. There is also an option to buy the item directly but the price of the product happens to be higher.
A huge part of its success comes from the extremely price-sensitive user base from smaller Chinese cities as opposed to its rivals JD.com and Alibaba which mainly appear to dominate in the tier 1 cities in China. To date, the company has been able to attract successful investors such as Tencent, Sequoia China, and Gaorong Capital and currently backed by Neil Shen who is the founder partner of Sequoia China as one of its board members.
Huang, before having any plans to set up Pinduoduo, founded two other companies – Xinyou Di Studio for developing and operating games and Ouku.com for operating as an online platform for consumer electronics. However, if one happens to trace his history all the way back to square one, it would be surprising to know that he started his career in the U.S headquarters of Google in 2004 and then decided to relocate to China to establish Google China which later on failed, unfortunately.
Colin Huang is academically trained as a data scientist and hold’s a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Zhejiang University. He also possesses a master’s degree in computer science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
As of now, he is mainly focused on growing PDD as his rivals Alibaba and JD are not too far behind to capitalize on what gave his company the initial boost – the consumer to manufacturer aka C2M model of business.
According to Choi Chun, a research director at Shanghai-based firm iResearch, Alibaba, with its strong cloud computing backend can give way more benefits to the factories which are currently tied up with PDD. It can also provide them with better logistical solutions as PDD’s current logistical ecosystem is lacking in many ways. Thus, sufficed to say, though Huang has been able to grow Pinduoduo at a remarkable pace, he will be facing tough competition in the market. This will also make him cover a long way to go to topple Huateng and become the topmost richest man in China!
Update: Given the market condition and daily stock trading Huang net worth dropped slightly on Monday, once again making him trailing behind Jack Ma closely. However, his companies exceptional growth of 300% in the last one year has already caught the eyeballs of all the bigwigs of the industry.