Baidu chief Robin Li among rich and famous taking their place at top table

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 03 February, 2013, 5:48am

Robin Li, Baidu chairman and the mainland's third-richest man, and Yu Zhengsheng, No 4 in the Communist Party hierarchy, were named to the country's top political advisory body yesterday as a new generation of leaders prepares for power.

Yu, the former Communist Party secretary of Shanghai, is in line to be named chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

This comes after he was the only member of the Politburo's seven-man Standing Committee to be appointed one of the CPPCC's 2,237 delegates, indicating he will replace Jia Qinglin as chairman next month.

The list of delegates was published yesterday as the nation prepares to hold its annual session of parliament next month, which will complete a once-a-decade power transition.

Ling Jihua, head of the United Front Work Department of the party's Central Committee, said nearly half of the delegates were new, and 40 per cent were Communist Party members, Xinhua reported.

Robin Li, whose Chinese name is Li Yanhong, is also the co- founder and chief executive of Baidu, the nation's biggest search engine, and has an estimated net worth of US$8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Author Mo Yan, China's first Nobel laureate of literature last year, also appears on the delegate list.

Central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan and Commerce Minister Chen Deming were also named delegates, an indication that they will leave their current posts.

They join Li Shufu, the founder of China's first private carmaker, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, and Yang Yuanqing, Lenovo Group's chief executive officer, who are among those reappointed to the organisation.

Sports celebrity delegates included basketball star Yao Ming, who has retired from NBA and established himself as a successful businessman in Shanghai, and Liu Xiang, China's first 110-metre hurdle world record holder. Liu's appointment to the CPPCC prompted some controversy among internet users due to his failure to complete heats at the Beijing and London Olympics.

The CPPCC has committees that cover fields including economic affairs, population and ethnic and religious affairs.

Delegates are usually appointed for a five-year term.

The annual CPPCC meeting will start on March 3.