CHAIRMAN, CHEUNG KONG HOLDINGS
BORN June 13, 1928, in Chaozhou, Guangdong, China
EDUCATION Little formal schooling
HOBBIES Golf, golf, golf
FAMILY Widowed; sons Victor and Richard Li
QUOTE "I don't think my shareholders want me to step down since they are getting me so cheap [his chairmanship stipend is less than $700 a year]."
POWER POINTS Billionaire Li showed Hong Kong who is taipan. His public complaints about a deteriorating business climate received immediate verbal redress from Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa and Chief Secretary Anson Chan. Depressed regional land prices did his globally diversified empire no real harm.
DIRECTOR, ASIA AND PACIFIC DEPARTMENT, INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
BORN Jan. 29, 1935, in Taiskirchen, Austria
EDUCATION PhD in economics and business, Hochschule für Welthandel, Vienna; Master's in economics, University of Kansas (U.S.)
FAMILY wife Susanne; one son, two daughters
POWER POINTS Academic-turned-international bureaucrat is the IMF's point man in Asia now that boss Michel Camdessus is preoccupied with Russia. Thailand, South Korea and Indonesia all received IMF bailouts and are under Neiss's charge; though based in Washington he is regularly in Asia. His high profile will wane as conditions improve.
PRIME MINISTER OF JAPAN
BORN June 25, l937, in Gunma Prefecture, Japan
EDUCATION Waseda University, English literature
FAMILY Married; two daughters, one son
QUOTE "I'm a mix of good luck, dullness and perseverance."
POWER POINTS He registered a dismal 17.3% public support rating after reaching office last July, his bland image, mangled speech and reputation as a consensus-seeker preceding him. But the "cold pizza" man has delivered a bank rescue package, $200 billion in stimulus spending and tax cuts - and optimism that the worst of Japan's slump has passed. Latest approval rating: 44%.
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY, JAPAN
BORN Oct. 20, 1925, in Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
EDUCATION Did not attend university
FAMILY Married; one daughter
QUOTE "I hate him," referring to LDP defector and Liberal Party leader Ozawa Ichiro.
POWER POINTS While Obuchi seeks consensus, Nonaka is the enforcer who makes sure a consensus is reached. The master tactician of Obuchi's faction and the hatchet man for former faction leader Takeshita Noboru, the party's shadow kingmaker, Nonaka is said to have all Japan's political strings in his hands - including those that control his premier.
Joseph Ejercito Estrada
PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES
BORN April 19, 1937, in Manila
EDUCATION Engineering, Mapua Institute of Technology
HOBBIES Basketball, watching boxing
FAMILY Married to Luisa Ejercito; 13 children (three by his wife)
POWER POINTS Post-election bumbling suggested the ex-movie star could not act presidential. But competent advisers helped him master Congress and revive a stumbling economy. Behind the scenes, the populist Estrada has cozied up to Big Business, leading some to suspect a new circle of cronies. Still, his plain-speaking, broken-English charm has the masses enthralled. If he can aid the agricultural sector, reduce poverty and cut corruption, his grip on power will be even more secure.
PRIME MINISTER OF MALAYSIA
BORN Dec. 20, 1925, in Kedah state
EDUCATION MBBS from University of Malaya, Singapore
FAMILY Married to Dr. Siti Hasmah Ali; seven children, three of them adopted
QUOTE "In politics, there is no permanent enemy and there is no permanent friend."
POWER POINTS "Dr. M" is a match for Machiavelli. Political rival Anwar Ibrahim is neutralized in jail. Currency controls imposed despite international criticism helped the economy recover. Opposition is vocal, but the ruling party triumphed in a recent Sabah election.