William Lei Ding: The Billionaire Behind China’s Online Gaming Industry

William Lei Ding 1


William Lei Ding is a Chinese billionaire entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist. He is the founder and CEO of NetEase, Inc., one of the largest internet and online gaming companies in China.

Early Life and Education

Ding was born on October 1, 1971 in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, China. He began coding at the age of 16 and went on to study computer science at the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China.

Career and Achievements

In 1995, Ding started his career in the gaming industry as a software developer for a small company. After two years, he founded NetEase in Guangzhou, which started as an online content provider and later diversified into online gaming, e-commerce, and advertising.

Ding is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of the Chinese gaming industry. He built NetEase into one of China’s leading online gaming companies, with popular games such as “Fantasy Westward Journey,” “Westward Journey Online II,” and “Tianxia III.”

Under Ding’s leadership, NetEase has won several awards, including the China Outstanding Software Product Award, the China Top 100 Software Companies Award, and the WISE 2017 Best Mobile Game Award.

Personal Life

Ding is married and has three children. He is known for his philanthropy, having donated millions of dollars to various charitable causes. In 2020, he donated $13 million to support efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.


Name: William Lei Ding
Born: October 1, 1971
Country: China
Sector: Technology
Companies: NetEase
Net Worth: $36.2 billion (as of 2021)
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