Liu Yonghao
Chairman of New Hope Group
Age: 60

Liu Yonghao was China's best-known private entrepreneur in the 1990s. He started in the business of pig feed, and after more than 20 successful years in that sector, he bought a stake in Minsheng Bank and also invested in lucrative industries from real estate to chemicals. Along the way, Liu Yonghao continued to view agriculture as a pillar industry for China.

With New Hope, Liu and his team conducted an innovative experiment in China's agricultural history--the evolution from singular farming units to large-scale farming guided by agricultural cooperatives and agricultural enterprises. New Hope's stable development model supports agriculture through high-profit industries such as banking and insurance, which has allowed the farming business to remain prosperous amid a volatile business landscape. In recent years, New Hope has made several key acquisitions, creating an agriculture group that covers the entire industry chain and is globally competitive. Fortune China recently reported that the company's efforts had resulted an annual output of 800 million poultry and 8.5 million live pigs, involving 40,000 farming units and more than 100,000 farmers.

-- Wang Yiding

By Fortune China editors - Last updated January 12 2012: 9:09 AM ET