Jack Ma
Chairman and CEO of Alibaba Group
Age: 47

Alibaba Group is only 12 years old, but Jack Ma is already considered one of the most respected global entrepreneurs. Even though investors were initially skeptical about Alibaba's business-to-business marketplace for small and medium-sized businesses, Ma ultimately proved them wrong. His online marketplace took off and Alibaba has helped revolutionize the trading and shopping habits in China.

Ma attracted criticism last year, when it became known that his own salespeople had set up fake seller accounts and failed to deliver the goods sold. Ma fired more than 100 employees and addressed his critics. Later in the year, Ma made news again, this time in a spat with Yahoo, which owns 43% of Alibaba, over the value of a payment subsidiary. The two partners resolved their dispute, and by the end of the year, Ma was reportedly weighing a bid to take over the struggling U.S. search giant.

-- Zhou Zhanhong

By Fortune China editors @FortuneMagazine - Last updated January 12 2012: 9:09 AM ET
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