38. Adrian Cheng
40u40 main adrian cheng
Age: 32

Executive director, New World Development

Yes, he was born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth, as heir to the enormous New World Development real estate and retail empire founded by grandpa Cheng Yu-Tung. But Cheng is making his own mark on the Hong Kong--based company's sprawling operations. The Harvard-educated scion, who has worked at Goldman Sachs and UBS, is the executive director of NWD, which has a market cap of $8 billion, and also Chow Tai Fook, China's $7.3-billion-a-year answer to Tiffany & Co. In 2009 he launched a luxury-goods company to sell European brands in Asia and opened a new brand of eco-friendly shopping malls-cum-art galleries in China called K11.

Alter ego: Cheng decorates his office with his own art.

--O.A.


  @FortuneMagazine - Last updated October 17 2012 05:11 PM ET
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