#31 – John Tu
Net Worth: $800 million -70%
Last Year: $2.6 billion
Residence: Rolling Hills
Source of Wealth: Computer technology
Rough year for co-founder of Kingston Technology Co. Fountain Valley memory chip manufacturer saw sales fall $500 million as chip prices plummeted because of market saturation and lower demand. Company still reported $4 billion in revenue, but public rivals such as Advanced Micro Devices performed better.
Tu keeps low profile, but has been busy with charity. Donated to stem cell research, inspired by former business partner who was dialysis patient. Plays drums in band JT and California Dreamin? which plays for charitable causes such as Chapman University and the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana. Tu and partner David Sun founded memory chip maker after selling computer parts manufacturing company that left them financially devastated. They?e fared better with Kingston, which has carved out dominant stake in memory products. Tu and Sun are well-known for treating employees well. In 1996, when they sold 80 percent of Kingston to Japan? Softbank for $1.5 billion, they doled out $100 million in bonuses to employees. Three years later, they bought back the stake for $450 million.