Zhang Jianqiu

CEO, Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group | China

For connecting Kansas dairy farmers with Chinese parents.

Chinese parents, still horrified by a 2008 scandal in which some baby formula from several major domestic brands was found to contain the toxic chemical melamine, may finally be able to stop looking to foreign brands for safe milk powder. It’s partly thanks to Zhang Jianqiu, who led the Inner Mongolia-based Yili Group, one of China’s largest dairy producers, to cut a deal in November 2014 with Dairy Farmers of America to establish a dairy plant in Kansas. The $100 million joint venture is scheduled to produce over 80,000 tons of milk powder per year. As the Chinese government restructures the scandal-mired industry, Zhang’s focus on international cooperation may win back confidence in domestic brands.