Shi at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in 2012
10 February 1963
Yangzhong, Jiangsu, China
|Alma mater||Changchun University of Science and Technology
University of New South Wales
|Occupation||Founder, former Chairman & CEO
|Net worth||US$2.9 billion (2008)|
Shi was born in Yangzhong, Jiangsu province, China. His identical twin brother is Chen Henglong, who is also a tycoon. He finished his undergraduate study at Changchun University of Science and Technology in Changchun, and obtained his Master's degree from Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics, the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Afterward, Shi went to the University of New South Wales's School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering where he obtained his doctorate degree on solar power technology.
He acquired Australian citizenship and returned to China in 2001 to set up his solar power company - Suntech Power. According to Hurun Report's China Rich List 2013, he had a personal net worth of US$330 million.
Shi was elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering in 2009.
Amid fierce price competition on its products, on 20 March 2013, the Suntech board declared bankruptcy in the wake of defaulting on US$541 million-worth of bonds, Shi having been ousted from the chairmanship earlier that month. The Financial Times, quoting the Shanghai Securities News, reported at the time that Shi's movements were being restricted and that he was not allowed to leave China pending an investigation into his role at Suntech. By 2016, he was living in Shanghai and frequently visiting Australia.
He has donated funds to a renewable energy research unit at the University of NSW, Australia "because he felt it was not getting an appropriate level of government support", according to Australian Greens Senator Christine Milne.