Wei is the chairman of publicly traded Great Wall Motor, a manufacturer of sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks in China. The Baoding-based business began exporting vehicles in 1998 and became publicly traded in 2003. The company sold more than 27 million cars and reported revenue of 137.3 billion yuan ($20.4 billion) in 2022.
The majority of Wei’s wealth is derived from a 52% stake in the class A shares of publicly traded Great Wall Motor, according to the company’s July 28, 2023 filing. Great Wall Motor sold more than 27 million cars in 2022, according to its 2022 annual report.
He controls the shares through a 62% stake in closely held Baoding Innovation Great Wall Asset Management. About 13% of the shares held by Wei are pledged as security for a line of credit, according to the same July 2023 filing, and are excluded from the calculation.
The value of his cash investments is based on an analysis of these proceeds, as well as taxes and market performance.
Li Hongshuan, a spokesperson for the company, didn’t respond to a request for comment on the net worth calculation.
Education: Hebei University Committee
Wei Jianjun was born in 1964 in Beijing, and later moved to the city of Baoding in China’s Hebei province with his family. After working at several factories, Wei signed a contract at age 26 with the local government to take charge of Great Wall Industry, a debt-laden auto customization company with 60 employees, and turned it into a van-maker.
He decided to begin making pickup trucks after witnessing the popularity of the truck model during a business trip to Thailand in 1995. The pickup and van market in China was neglected by major automakers, and therefore was less competitive than that for cars. Great Wall’s pickup business soon flourished as small business owners and farmers in rural areas bought the new products. Great Wall’s Deer brand pickups became a market leader in China by 1998.
Laws in the 1990s prevented pickup trucks access to travel in most major Chinese cities. To thwart that restriction, Wei decided to use the same truck chassis and transformed his pickup factory line to make sport utility vehicles instead. He sold the SUVs at a price that was less than half the price of imports in 2002. Great Wall’s SUVs have since beaten foreign brands with its lower price and comparable quality. Its Haval model is the best-selling SUV in China.
In 2003, Great Wall became the first closely held Chinese automaker to sell shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, raising $195 million. The company was listed in Shanghai Stock Exchange in 2011. Wei’s goal for Great Wall is to grow the company to become the world’s largest maker of fuel-efficient SUVs and pickups by 2017.
- 1964 Wei Jianjun is born in Beijing.
- 1984 Great Wall Motors is established in Hebei, China.
- 1990 Enters contract to remake Great Wall into a truckmaker.
- 1991 Pickup trucks and vans added to Great Wall product line.
- 1998 Sales of Great Wall pickups ranks No. 1 in China.
- 1999 Finishes management studies at a Communist Party college.
- 2002 Company distributes Safe, the first domestic economy SUV model.
- 2003 Becomes the first Chinese private automaker to list in Hong Kong.
- 2007 Production rate hits 200,000 cars per year.
- 2012 Auto production strats at Great Wall plant in Bulgaria.