In his eight decades in the media business, Sir Run Run Shaw has built the Chinese-speaking world's most successful film and TV empire. He was co-founder of Shaw Brothers, the legendary movie studio that made many of the most popular Chinese movies in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. He launched Television Broadcasts, the Hong Kong TV station known as TVB that has produced the most popular Cantonese dramas and launched the careers of movie and recording heartthrobs idols like Andy Lau. He received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II and has become a noted philanthropist, donating money to local universities and following in the footsteps of Alfred Nobel by funding a prize in his own name to honor achievements in astronomy, math, life science, and medicine.
There's one thing Sir Run Run hasn't managed to do, though: Figure out how to retire. He turned 100 in October and is still going strong as chairman of TVB. O.K., he has started to slow down. Until a few years ago he was an active presence at TVB headquarters, though he no longer goes to the office every day. That said, the chairman remains the most important figure at the company. "He is still very influential," says Allan Ng, an analyst with BOC International in Hong Kong. "He's involved in the directional things rather than the detailed execution."