Charles Wang was the son of a Chinese immigrant and grew up in New York City. After leaving university he began to sell Swiss software in the United States and within five years had built Computer Associates into a big enough company for it to be floated on the New York Stock Exchange. Using the money raised, Wang began buying up his competition and in the course of the next 15 years he spent $4bn to build Computer Associates into the world's third largest software company behind Microsoft and Oracle.After each new acquisition Wang was careful to retain the customers of the company he had taken over but kept costs down with ruthless pruning of his empire. As most of the company's products had been acquired rather than developed, the name was not well known. By the mid-1990s Computer Associates' profits were increasing dramatically and revenues were climbing towards the $5bn mark. The company was able to spend more on developing its own software products for the mass markets and decided to embark on an advertising campaign to give the company a higher profile around the world.Computer Associates became a McLaren sponsor in 1997 and has enjoyed the success of the West McLaren Mercedes team in recent seasons.