Once China announced the launch of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in 2014—Beijing’s challenge to the U.S.-dominated World Bank—Washington expressed reservations to its allies about the new lending institution. But to no avail: The United Kingdom signed up, followed by a dozen of its neighbors, in what was a testament to the wiles of AIIB’s head, Jin Liqun. Nicknamed China’s “barbarian handler” for his facility with foreigners, Jin’s coup de grâce took place in August, when he cracked the North American market and enlisted Canada. It’s not yet clear whether AIIB can fill an $8 trillion shortfall in Asian infrastructure spending, but Jin’s maneuvering has confirmed that Beijing will push the limits on how much it can reshape the international financial system. (Photo credit: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
A huge Shakespeare fan, Jin fell in love with the Bard after being sent to the Chinese countryside during the Cultural Revolution.
Jin’s mantra for the bank is “lean, clean, and green”—the goal of which is to maintain a small staff, avoid conflicts of interest, and promote an agenda that’s environmentally friendly.