He Xiangjian

He Xiangjian is a Chinese entrepreneur and a self made billionaire. According to Forbes Magazine, Xiangjian is the 9th richest person in China and the 437th richest person in the world with an estimated net worth of $6.8 billion.

Quick Facts

Net Worth: $6.8 Billion (As of October 2013)

Source: Appliances, Self-Made

Born: 1942 (Age 72)

Nationality: Chinese

Residence: Foshan, China

Marital Status: Married with 3 Children


Xiangjian was born in 1942 in Guangdong, China. He came from a humble beginning, followed his dreams and became a wealthy appliance manufacturing tycoon. He is the owner and Chairman of Midea Group, China’s leading appliances manufacturer. Under his leadership, Midea became one of the most successful privately-owned companies in China. 

Xiangjian is also among the top 10 richest people in China. In the Forbes China Rich List of 2013, Xiangjian is listed as the 9th wealthiest person in China and the 437th wealthiest person in the World. His net worth was estimated to be $6.8 billion.

Business Endeavors

Before becoming an apprentice in a factory, Xiangjian worked as a farmer.  In 1968, he cofounded Midea together with 23 other Shunde residents. They managed to raise $730 and set up a small workshop that manufactured plastic medicine bottles. By 1980, the factory had broadened its production to fan parts for a state-owned firm. Xiangjian then established an electric fan called the Pearl, which was the first product of its kind to be produced by the firm. 

In 1981, Xiangjian purchased the Midea trademark and renamed the firm. Three years later Midea began the manufacture of a plastic box fan that could be used overnight. The firm managed to export it to Hong Kong, and also sent a team to Japan to familiarize themselves with production technologies. 

By 1985, Midea had started producing air conditioners. In 1993, the firm was listed in Shenzhen and was also ranked 3rd in China’s air-conditioner market. Unfortunately, the market share of the firm slipped as a result of a stiff competition in the air-conditioner business. Subsequently, Xiangjian made a decision to launch a ‘divisional’ structure replicated on Panasonic. 5 divisions were formed, each devoted to a product area such as compressors, home appliances and air-con. This led to the decentralization of the decision making process, leading to an improved end product.  

It focuses on white goods market rather than on black goods such as TVs and mobile phones. Xiangjian reckons that there’s great potential for growth in the home appliance market.  He resigned from his position as Chairman of the firm on August 2012. However, he remains an active shareholder of the company.

Personal Life 

Xiangjian is married with 3 children and resides in Foshan, China.

Famous Quote

“I walk a step or two behind rather than take half a wrong step.”- He Xiangjian 

Interesting Fact about Xiangjian 

He was born in the same year (1942) as Muhammad Ali (boxing icon), Joe Biden (the 47th Vice-President of the United States and Calvin Klein (world-renowned fashion designer).

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