Wang's Shanghai-based BYD is the world's largest manufacturer of mobile-phone batteries; it's also a car company that's forging ahead with electric cars like its plug-in crossover, the e6. In 2008, Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway bought a $230 million stake in BYD in the firm belief that Wang's business could one day become the world's biggest automaker and a leader in solar power. It's off to a good start: BYD and Daimler recently announced a joint venture, worth $88 million, in which the companies will collaborate on a new generation of electric vehicles. For his efforts, Wang, 44, has been richly rewarded: He's widely believed to be China's richest man. --J.P.M.
NEXT: Founder runner-up: Jack Dorsey
Last updated July 09 2010: 1:19 PM ET