Liu Yiqian, one of the wealthiest men in China, dropped out of middle school to pursue money-making endeavors as a teen. He went from hawking handbags on streets to driving taxis to becoming one of the most prolific collectors of art in China, now worth an estimated $800 million.
BBC delves deeper into Liu’s story: After he left school, Liu sold bags on the streets to help out his family. He discovered ways to produce the bags cheaper than other vendors and increase profits (once considered savvy).
It was the beginning of the 1980s, and the earliest roots of China’s move to capitalism were being put in place
He bought his first holding in a company that operated very near his bag stall, so he knew all about them.The shares cost 100 yuan and within a year their value increased to 10,000 yuan. He eventually sold his stake for more than two million yuan.
His wealth is based on that one transaction.
Liu’s art collecting is done in partnership with his wife, Wang Wei, who acts as a Curator. At the end of last year, Liu and and his wife opened the Long Museum, China’s largest private museum, on Luoshan Road in the Pudong New Area, according to Jing Daily.
the sprawling 10,000 square meter museum is currently China’s largest private museum in size and scope, housing a wide-ranging collection of blue-chip Chinese contemporary art on the ground floor, Mao-era “Red Classics” from 1949-1979 on the second, and traditional works and ancient artifacts on the third floor.
Chinese media dubbed him “the eccentric Mr. Liu” because of his casual wear and intermittent shaving.