KEY POINTS

  • William Ding's net worth is $27.8 billion
  • He founded NetEase in the 1990s.
  • Ding is now into pig farm investments

Billionaires have different sources of incomes from different businesses they own but one Chinese billionaire made it big from video games.

William Lei Ding has a net worth of $27.8 billion. He cashed in on the online gaming industry back when it was still an untapped source of wealth in China. Ding founded NetEase in the 1990s. According to Celebrity Net Worth, NetEase’s site, 163.com, has amassed massive site visitors because it features different online games. The company employs an estimate of 6,000 people.

NetEase collaborated with industry giants such as Microsoft and Blizzard Entertainment. With the boom in esports in recent years, Ding’s online gaming platform enjoyed impressive gains. Forbes noted that the company expanded its services to movies, music and e-commerce to fend off competition from Tencent.

Alibaba will pay $2 billion for Kaola and invest $700 billion in NetEase Cloud Music
Alibaba will pay $2 billion for Kaola and invest $700 billion in NetEase Cloud Music AFP / ALAIN JOCARD

The billionaire can credit “Fantasy Westward Journey” as one of the keys to his success. The game’s popularity pushed his fortunes up. In 2015, “Fantasy Westward Journey” had 310 million registered users. In that same year, the mobile version of the online game was launched, per South China Morning Post.

Launching the mobile app was a stroke of genius. One year later, it went head-to-head with “Pokemon Go” and made $800 million in China alone. NetEase’s partnership with Blizzard Entertainment brought “World of Warcraft” and “StarCraft” to the Chinese audience.

Soon, NetEase began integrating comics in its platform where users can get exclusive access to. In 2015, Ding’s company published at least 2,000 comic book series. In 2017, NetEase signed a deal with Marvel Comics that allowed them to offer “Captain America” and “Iron Man” in China. Although NetEase already sold its comics arm to another company, it has the rights to the said Marvel series.

The University of Electronic Science and Technology of China alumnus ranks 51st on Forbes billionaires list of 2020. Although he already made it big, Ding does not forget to give back. In 2010, he funded an initiative that would translate American college classes in Chinese. This is his way of giving back to others, by providing a platform that is accessible anytime.

One trait common to billionaires is that they do not rest on their laurels. They always find ways to innovate and look for potential areas where there is an opportunity to grow. Ding started venturing into pig farming as a way to give back to the farmers. The idea took years to materialize but in 2019, NetEase already started at least three pig farms with plans of adding one to the list soon.

China is one of the world’s top pork consumers. By investing in pig farming, Ding has hit two birds with one stone: give back to farmers and help provide stable pork supply in the country.

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