Pony Ma

Name: Pony Ma
Chinese Name: 马化腾
Title: Founder, chairman and CEO
Company: Tencent
Years Working in China: 23
Pony Ma's Social Profile:

One of the core founders of Tencent, Ma is also executive director, chairman of the board and chief executive officer rolled into one. He oversees the strategic development, overall direction and management of the Tencent titan. Before he founded Tencent in 1998 with a few university buddies, he was in charge of research and development for internet paging systems at China Motion Telecom (now Ground Properties). Tencent’s first product was a desktop messenger called OICQ, nearly indistinguishable from one by an Israeli firm called ICQ. That proved to be problematic, so Tencent changed the name to QQ.

Ma’s big ideas for instant-messaging, m-commerce, virtual currencies and mobile gaming have given Tencent enough ammunition to go global over the past few years. But this year by his own admission, Ma is taking a step back from “being too aggressive”.

Frequently described as a “computer geek” – a fall-back career choice since his childhood wish was to be an astronomer – it didn’t turn out too badly for Ma who is now a tech billionaire enjoying the fruits of his mobile triumphs on WeChat. The ubiquitous mobile app was developed after Ma ordered two teams of engineers, one in Shenzhen and another in Guangzhou, to work on the same development instructions at the same time, taking A/B testing to the next level like a true geek.