Ready to Rumble

Li Jianguo remembers the day he learned what his wealth might cost him. The multimillionaire owner of a Chinese herbal-medicine company, Li was living in Hainan in the early 1990s when a kidnapper snatched his friend's young son from school and demanded $400,000 in ransom. Police rescued the boy, but not before revealing that the kidnapper had been a close friend of both men. Li says he "realized then that as soon as a Chinese person discloses his wealth, danger is waiting." Today he refrains from inviting friends to his opulent Beijing villa, keeps his net worth a secret (Jianguo is...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!