Not to sound too much like Tom Friedman, but while the United States seems content to squabble over the merits of investing in alternative energy projects like electric cars and solar energy, Chinese tycoons are slugging it out to produce the best solar energy projects and electric cars.
The Sunday Times (UK) The 17 Chinese tycoons in the Top 100 are concentrated at the bottom end of the list and they are almost exclusively involved in solar and electric-car technology. It is a ferociously competitive market with unremitting pressure to cut costs and gain market share.
As such, all the Chinese fortunes have been hammered as share prices have fallen sharply. A year ago, many would have been in the Top 50, but not now. Indeed, some of them will not survive the steep downturn they are now battling through. But out of it will emerge winners selling much cheaper and more technically advanced products to a huge market worldwide.
This excerpt is from the UK’s Sunday Times, which created a “Green Rich List” that shows “the enthusiasm among the world’s wealthiest for investments in areas as diverse as electric cars, solar power and geothermal energy is unaffected by the recession.” They list 100 people, we’ve included the top 10 below.
While we’re not certain that the recession is leaving their enthusiasm unaffected, we do think it’s telling that there are 17 (!) Chinese tycoons actively pursuing solar projects and electric cars, while there is just one American pursuing solar and one pursuing electric cars. And the American in solar is First Solar’s CEO, Michael Ahern.
Maybe the Chinese are getting it wrong and the Americans are getting it right, investing in other green projects like fuel, wind and energy. Time will tell, we suppose.
1. Warren Buffett, USA, Wind Power
2. Bill Gates, USA, Alternative Fuels
3. Ingvar Kamprad, Sweden, Renewable Energy
4. Marcel Brenninkmeijer, Holland, Natural Power
5. Mukesh Ambani, India, Life Sciences
6. Michael Bloomberg, USA, Natural Energy
7. Michael Otto, Germany, Green Products
8. Paul Allen, USA, Natural Fuels
9. Donald Bren, USA Environmental Research
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