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Koos Bekker becomes billionaire with China media

August 20
12:40 PM 2013

South Africa's Jacobus Petrus "Koos" Bekker became a billionaire earlier this year. This was after he transformed Cape Town-based Naspers Ltd. from an old print business into the biggest emerging market media firm.

De Nasionale Pers was established in 1915 and published the firm Afrikaans-language daily paper. In 1948, the publication was named Die Burger which went to defend apartheid rule during the segregationist system through commentaries and articles.

In 1997, Bekker took over the group and began his investment in technology and media firms. The 60 year old chief executive officer bought stakes in more than 100 businesses according to analyst Kate Turner-Smith of BPI Africa Capital. Bekker bought stakes in China's Tencent Holdings Ltd and Russia's Mail.ru. Since 2003, the market value of Naspers added around USD34 billion after Bekker turned the company into an investment house.

In a phone interview last August 5, Turner-Smith said that Naspers had changed 180 degrees as its chairman is quite a visionary man. Turner-Smith added, Bekker saw the potential of print media before others in the market did.

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