The New Year is upon us.. how will the new year’s economy shake out? Here are a few Billionaires speaking out..
What do you think? How do you see the economy in 2007 shaking out?
WenChi Chen, Taiwanese (Net Worth: $2.4 billion)
In China, but also globally, people are going to start paying more attention to so-called green technology. Environmentally-friendly things are going to become more important: how to save energy, how to save power. All over China, people are emphasizing saving energy. It’s almost like a government agenda. But we don’t see this as a purely Chinese event. Globally, we’re going to see more and more people becoming energy and environmentally conscious. We don’t have an unlimited energy supply. I think that’s pretty clear to everybody.
Chen is chairman of Via Technologies, a chip design house that makes “green” computers.
Mark Cuban, 49, American (Net Worth: $2.3 billion)
I think we will recognize that the Internet has matured as a medium, that new applications will continuously change the face of the Net, but that users will self-brand and become identifiable in how they use it. This will move the focus away from technologies and onto the users themselves. We will have “searchers,” those who use the Internet for searching and finding information and products; “settlers,” those who join groups and settle into relationships as small as their immediate or extended families, or as large as popular social or virtual networks; and “finders,” those who use the Net as a platform to create or find new mediums, destinations or interactions.
Cuban made his fortune selling Broadcast.com to Yahoo! in 1999. He is currently involved in other dot-com projects like blog search engine IceRocket.com.
Eli Broad, 73, American (Net Worth: $5.6 billion)
The progress being made in genomics–getting all the information learned from decoding the human genome to clinical application to bedside–is accelerating. Stem-cell research is going to accelerate dramatically in California. It’s going to happen because of Proposition 71 [Proposition 71 provides $3 billion to fund stem cell research in California]. I’m a very strong believer in the need for embryonic stem-cell research. We have to move forward because we’re falling behind what’s happening in the U.K., Israel, Singapore, Australia and other countries. To maintain our scientific and medical research edge, we’ve got to move forward.
Eli Broad gave $25 million this year to build a stem-cell research lab at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine.
Sir Donald Gordon, 76, South African, British (Net Worth: $2.5 billion)
Source: Liberty International
I am concerned about the outcome of private equity and hedge funds. I just think the whole system is getting out of hand. There’s going to be some awful disasters. Some of these companies have bought and overstretched their debt. A lot of people who are not competent are playing with big money, which they don’t possibly understand. It’s a situation that can’t go on indefinitely. It will take years for it to recover back to normal again.
Before his real estate company, Liberty International, Gordon founded Liberty Life, a company involved in insurance and financial services. He is not involved in private equity or hedge fund management or investment.
Mario Moretti Polegato, 53, Italian (Net Worth: $2.2 billion)
In 2007 there will be even more competition and turbulence. China and India are booming, bringing to the market products of higher and higher quality but with lower prices. Geox produces in 28 countries in the world–China and India included. That’s the only way to compete with them. Our production is therefore outsourced, but the secret is to keep the intelligence in house. Innovative ideas represent the future of a company. You have to protect them, like a mother does with her baby.
Polegato owns footwear retailer Geox.