Wang was born in China to a family of poor farmers. While in high school he was cared for by his elder brother and sister because both of his parents passed away in death. After high school he studied chemistry at the Central South Industrial University of Technology, and went on to earn a master's degree in 1990 from the Beijing Non-Ferrous Research Institute. He spent several years as a government researcher, but in 1995 he entered the private sector and founded his own company, BYD Company, outside of Shenzhen. Founded with his cousin Lu Xiangyang when he was just 29 years old, BYD Company is currently the world's biggest mobile phone batteries manufacturer. In early 2009, he was reportedly worth US$1.3 billion, placing him #559 on Forbes magazine's list of billionaires. In late 2009, his worth grew to $5.1 billion and was crowned China's richest man on the Hurun Rich List. This was due largely to a fivefold increase in his company's value after Warren Buffett bought 225 million new shares of BYD in 2008.