Cao Dewang (Chinese: 曹德旺), is the chairman and chief executive of Fujian-based Fuyao Glass Industry Group, the world’s second largest automotive glass supplier. He is also regarded as a prominent entrepreneur and one of China’s top philanthropists.
Born in 1946 in Fujian Province, Cao’s life is full of legends. His family lost entire fortune during their move from Shanghai to Fujian. Growing up as a cowhand and small retailer, who received schooling for less than five years, Cao made a miracle by transforming an unprofitable glass factory to a world renowned company.
Under his leadership, the company won two lawsuits against anti-dumping prosecution filed by Canada and U.S. after China’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. His group has attracted a number of world renowned automobile manufacturers, including, Audi, Ford, Fiat and Nissan, as its customers. On May 30, 2009, Cao trumped his other competitors to win the title of Ernst & Young Entrepreneur, a yearly award for the most outstanding businessman in the world. Its winners include biotechnology pioneer Jean Paul Clozel from Actelion Pharmaceutical Ltd., American business magnate Michael Saul Dell, founder of the Dell Inc. and Howard Schultz from Starbucks.
On May 5, 2011, Cao set up Heren Charitable Foundation, the country’s first family-owned fundraising organization financed by Cao’s 300 million shares valued at about 3.5 billion yuan (US$541 million) from Fuyao Glass Industry Group. Cao’s foundation holds nearly 15 percent of Fuyao’s shares. It also rocked the country’s decades-long philanthropic system, in which private foundations had little say in fundraising, let alone donating shares.