Over the past 199 issues (this being the 200th) we’ve been privileged to write about arguably the defining trend of our times: the growth of China’s economy and that nation’s expanding influence in the world. Our coverage has spanned serious topics (as when we revealed in February 2010 Chinese media fears over the health of local government financing vehicles); has chronicled Chinese cultural mores (what is the latest hit TV show, and why) and has also delighted in the quirky (such as the diving pigs of Hunan, pictured in this issue on page 20).
In this special edition we indulge in a little looking back, profiling a few of the personalities who have featured more prominently in our pages. It hardly needs saying that culling our initial list of candidates down to just eight was a challenge. Nor are we claiming that the eight are the most important people in China (although, arguably, some might make that list). Instead we’ve selected our personalities on the basis that they represent a defining theme that has recurred in past issues. The individuals and themes are:
1. Zhang Xin and why real estate is the key to understanding China
2. Xu Ming and how Chinese corruption operates
3. Ren Zhengfei and why China’s most global firm causes tension abroad
4. Lee Kai-fu and why weibo has revolutionised public discourse
5. Ma Huateng and why Chinese internet giants face little US competition
6. Zong Qinghou and how China’s richest man rode the consumer wave
7. Shi Zhengrong and what to do about growing Chinese energy needs
8. Fan Bingbing and why Hollywood is seduced by China’s box office boom
Looking forward, rather than back, I’d also like to let you know that we will soon launch a new version of our website, with an improved look. Hopefully you will find the updated design useful for navigating back through our 200 issues worth of content.
Steven Irvine, Editor
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