On Apr. 18, Time released its list of the 100 most influential people in 2019. Apart from entertainment celebrities like Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande, the list also brings with it big guns from China’s tech industry including Ren Zhengfei, founder of Huawei, Zhang Yiming, CEO of Bytedance and He Jiankui, the initiator of the world-renowned gene-editing surgery.
As Charlie Campbell, East Asia correspondent of Time magazine wrote, “Ren Zhengfei was no computer prodigy when he founded Huawei with a $5,600 investment in 1987. Yet his stewardship helped transform Huawei into the world’s biggest telecoms equipment firm, with $107 billion in revenue and customers in 170 countries and regions in 2018. Apart from cutting-edge smartphones, Huawei stands at the vanguard of 5G—revolutionary technology that will fuel the driverless cars and smart factories of the fourth Industrial Revolution.”
Throughout 2018, Ren Zhengfei has come under the spotlight on multiple occasions as his daughter Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was involved in the incident that concerned the legislature, politics and diplomatic relations between China, the U.S. and Canada.
As the founder of ByteDance, the owner of one of the most popular streaming apps around the globe—TikTok , Zhang Yiming has been named one of the most successful entrepreneurs in China’s tech community.
As commented by Kai-Fu Lee, Sinovation Ventures CEO and AI expert, “by many quantitative metrics, Zhang Yiming is the top entrepreneur in the world. After just seven years, his AI-based social-media company ByteDance is the most valuable startup, valued at $75 billion with over a dozen mobile products globally boasting over 1 billion monthly users.”
At present, up until January 2019, the daily active users (DAU) of TikTok has reached around 2,500 million, with monthly active users (MAU) exceeding 5,000 million.
As the “mad scientist” that initiated the gene-edited babies project, He became a rather controversial figure ever since he announced the birth of two twin gene-edited babies Lulu and Nana.
“He Jiankui showed the world how human embryo editing is relatively easy to do but incredibly difficult to do well. Going against the consensus in the scientific community that CRISPR-Cas9 technology is still too experimental and dangerous to use in human embryos, he applied it to forever change the genomes of twin girls to give them immunity to HIV.” Jennifer Doudna, co-inventor of CRISPR-Cas9 and a professor at the University of California, Berkeley said.
SEE ALSO: Chinese Scientist Claims the World’s First Gene-edited Twin Babies
While the potential risks associated with gene-editing surgery will take years to unveil, his bold attempt undoubtedly brings insights to the frontier of gene editing.