Chu is Asian Golf's Most Powerful Figure

Dr. David Chu, chairman of Mission Hills Group, has been ranked No. 9 on Golf Inc.'s list of the "Most Powerful People in Golf."

Chu, founder of Mission Hills and who helped Beijing's successful bid to host the 2008 Summer Games, moved up seven spots from his 2007 debut at No. 16. He is the highest-ranked non-American. This is the largest one-year jump since Golf Inc. began the rankings and comes in only the second year leadership positions outside the U.S. have been included.

Of Chu's influence on the game, the editors state:

"It is probably no exaggeration to say that Chu, head of the world's largest golf facility at Mission Hills in Shenzhen, China, is the man most responsible for China's golf boom. In addition to the 12 courses, residential and resort amenities at Mission Hills, Chu spearheaded the agreement to hold the Omega Mission Hills World Cup tournament at the facility for the next 12 years."

Jack Nicklaus is ranked No. 1, while Tiger Woods is fourth and PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem is sixth in the top 10.

"This award is strong evidence our efforts to grow golf in China are on the right track," Chu said. "We're spreading the game through a multifaceted approach. This includes bringing professional tournaments to Mission Hills, supporting a host of junior golf initiatives, inviting golf greats for clinics, and employing the most respected swing instructors. It's all part of a broader long-range plan to make golf the premier sport not only in China, but throughout the world."

A Hong Kong native, Chu was one of the first entrepreneurs to invest in mainland China in the late 1970s. After building a corrugated paper conglomerate, he founded Mission Hills in 1992 as a place where the nascent Chinese golf movement could gain a foothold. A scant 16 years later, Mission Hills' 12 courses make it the world's largest golf club and a powerful player on the global golf scene.

Chu has an honorary Doctorate of Law from the University of Toronto and serves as the Vice-Chairman of the China Football Association, China Tennis Association and China Volleyball Association. A firm believer in cross-cultural education programs for academic advancement, he has generously supported many institutions of higher learning in mainland China, Hong Kong and overseas. Chu is an Advisory Committee Member of Hong Kong Polytechnic University, a Board Member of Upper Canada College in Canada and an Honorary Advisor for the Asia Region of the University of Toronto. To make up for the absence of physical science education and music development in mainland China, Chu has provided funding to support physical science faculty and international musical tour exchanges.

Earlier this year, he established "Dr. David Chu's Care Fund for Orphans" in response to the Sichuan earthquake. Chu and Mission Hills raised more than $3 million for victims of the tragedy. Over the last decade, Mission Hills has contributed to those in need following the February 2008 blizzards in southern China, the 2005 and '06 floods in southern China, the 2003 SARS outbreak in Hong Kong, and other disasters.

This story originally appeared in Asian Golf Business (