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Photo montage by Adam Connors
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Chris Stowers for Asiaweek

6 Chen Shui-bian
BORN Feb. 18, 1951, in Tainan County
EDUCATION National Taiwan University School of Law
FAMILY Married to Wu Shu-jen, two children
POWER POINTS China, with all its military might, is spooked down to its boots by this upstart son of a Taiwan sugar-plantation worker. Since his victory (admittedly with a limited mandate) in March's presidential election , the world has been watching to see how the former mayor of Taipei manages to finesse his earlier fiery talk of independence with the need to maintain a working relationship with Beijing. Asia's future and prosperity depend on the outcome.

Jay Directo/AFP
7 Abdurrahman Wahid
BORN Aug. 4, 1940, in East Java, Indonesia
EDUCATION Al-Azhar University, Egypt; Islamic University of Baghdad
FAMILY Married to Siti Nuriyah, four daughters
HOBBIES Soccer enthusiast and classical-music buff
POWER POINTS Against the odds and sometimes despite his erratic ways, Wahid (also known as Gus Dur) has guided Southeast Asia's most populous nation through its first year of true democracy. After astutely maneuvering between two hostile sides to snatch the presidency, he has patched up relations with secession-prone outer territories and faced down the military. Wahid has steadily built up his authority, but his lack of interest in economic affairs has slowed recovery - possibly jeopardizing his position.

Philip Gostelow

8 Son Masayoshi
BORN Aug. 11, 1957, in Tosu, Japan
FAMILY Married
POWER POINTS Driven by Son's vision and derring-do, the Softbank cyber-empire spans the globe, including about 150 Internet and computer companies and other interests. Son's estimated personal wealth: over $60 billion, despite the recent zapping of tech values. Next projects: Nasdaq Japan and banking.

Rakesh Sahai for Asiaweek
9 A.B. Vajpayee
BORN Dec. 25, 1924, in Gwalior, India
EDUCATION University of Kanpur, India
FAMILY Single, with two adopted children
POWER POINTS If a diplomatic humbling of Pakistan counts for anything - and it does - this was a year to savor for Vajpayee. During a visit to South Asia, President Bill Clinton made it clear he was drawing down the curtain on the U.S.'s special relationship with old Cold War ally Pakistan and tilting toward the emerging might and wealth of democratic India. For Vajpayee, the geopolitical swing came on the heels of India's successful neutralizing of a Pakistani-backed invasion of disputed Kashmir, the taming of hardliners in his coalition government and the routing of the Congress party in a general election. The Indian PM seems more firmly established than ever - a situation clouded only by his medical condition. He has only one kidney, and his health is thought to be not good.

Stephen Shaver/AFP

10 Zhu Rongji
BORN Oct. 1, 1928, in Changsha, China
EDUCATION Electrical engineering at Tsinghua University, Beijing
FAMILY Married to Lao An, one son, one daughter
POWER POINTS Zhu has doggedly pursued China's entry into the WTO, despite sour relations with the U.S. and sniping from conservatives at home. His war on corruption has met with some success, as has getting the PLA out of business. But reform of state-owned enterprises is bogged down.

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