Cho Tak Wong
Cho, 69, was born into a wealthy business family which lost its entire fortune during the final years of the Chinese civil war. Forced to quit school at 14, he educated himself using a dictionary. The enterprising youth also started his first business, buying and selling tobacco leaves; he went on to sell fruit during the volatile Cultural Revolution. Cho got his lucky break when the local government sold him the glass factory he worked in — he turned a profit within a year. Today, Cho runs one of Asia’s largest auto-glass manufacturers.