Xi Jinping has become China's new Communist Party chief, and is now certain to take over next year as the country's President as well.
He is a so-called 'princeling', the privileged son of a former top leader, learning Chinese politics from an early age when his father was purged and he himself was sent to work in the countryside.
Mr Xi's close ties to the military and his support for state-owned industries suggest he's conservative.
Born in Beijing in 1953, Mr Xi studied chemical engineering in Tsinghua before joining the Party in 1974. He worked in Hebei, Fujian and Zhejiang, before being named Shanghai party chief in 2007 and tasked with cleaning up a corruption scandal.
He has a reputation for straight-talking, telling officials in 2004: 'Rein in your spouses, children, relatives, friends and staff, and vow not to use power for personal gain.'
To many inside China, Mr Xi is less famous than his wife - the folk singer Peng Liyuan.
Li Keqiang's career has seen him rise from manual labourer on a rural commune to provincial party chief and now a leader-in-waiting.
He has a reputation for caring about China's less well-off, perhaps the result of a modest upbringing.
He is close to Hu Jintao, who he worked with in the party's youth league, and he is widely expected to take over from Wen Jiabao as China's premier. But his easy-going manner and consensual style has prompted some to question whether he is dogged enough to tackle strong vested interests which dominate much of China's economy.
Born in 1955 in Anhui Province, Mr Li reportedly rejected his father's offer of a local party career, enrolling instead at Beijing's Peking University to study law. Mr Li became deputy party secretary for Henan Province in 1998, and became China's youngest provincial governor a year later.
Wang Qishan is well known to Western leaders, a key figure in discussions about the global economy and China's economic links with the US. Henry Paulson, the former US treasury secretary, described him as 'decisive and inquisitive', and someone with a 'wicked sense of humour'.
He is often compared to his political mentor, former premier Zhu Rongji, because both men are seen as dynamic and ready to challenge the status quo. Both even share the same nickname, 'fire brigade chief', because of their crisis management.
Mr Wang is a 'princeling', the son of a top official, and he is married to Yao Minshan, daughter of former vice-premier Yao Yilin.
He joined the party relatively late, at age 35, and worked as a banker before being made mayor of Beijing in 2004. He took over at the height of the SARS crisis and was credited for a no-nonsense approach, enforcing a quarantine and working with the World Health Organisation.
Zhang Dejiang was chosen by China's leaders for their toughest assignment of 2012, taking over as party chief of Chongqing after the fall of Bo Xilai.It cemented his reputation as a trouble-shooter who could be relied on to manage a crisis, and suggested he was set for the very top.
While many of China's new leaders have dealings with the West, Mr Zhang is an expert on a China's oldest ally, North Korea, and even spent two years studying economics in Pyongyang.
Mr Zhang, son of a PLA major-general, started his party career on the North Korean border, before being moved to Zhejiang and then working as party secretary in Guangdong between 2002 and 2007.
His term was not free from controversy. When SARS broke out in the province in 2002, the government was slow to respond.
Mr Zhang was heavily criticised. His tough stance towards protestors and journalists was also unpopular. He is not known to be a reformer, and opposed allowing businessmen to join the party.
Liu Yunshan, 55, is head of the party's propaganda department, the body which strictly controls the country's media and polices the internet.
He worked in Inner Mongolia for almost three decades from 1968, after being sent there as a young man to work in a commune. He later became a Xinhua news agency reporter, public relations specialist, and finally deputy party secretary.
Born in Xinzhou, Shanxi, he joined the party in 1971 and was a graduate of the Party School. He worked with President Hu Jintao at the party youth league and is seen as a close ally. Mr Liu's son, Liu Lefei, is a prominent private equity investor.
Mr Liu is expected to take over the propaganda portfolio. He is likely to maintain China's heavy-handed media censorship and intolerance of criticism, a system which sees thousands of people police internet content.
Mr Liu has expressed concern over the growing numbers of Chinese using online forums to criticise the government.
Yu Zhengsheng is party chief of Shanghai, China's largest city. A 'princeling' with close ties to both former president Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, he also has links to the late Deng Xiaoping's family.
Unusually, his political career survived his brother's defection to the US in the mid-1980s, possibly thanks to the backing of Deng's disabled son. Mr Yu's father was briefly married to Jiang Qing, who later became notorious as Madam Mao.
Mr Yu graduated from the Military Engineering Institute in Harbin, specialising in ballistic missiles, and worked in electronic engineering until the mid-1980s. He later worked as mayor and party chief of the eastern city of Qingdao and was credited with helping launch two of China's best-known brands overseas - Tsingtao beer and Haier appliances.
Mr Yu prefers to travel in a simple car without a motorcade, and surrounds himself with few bodyguards, it was revealed in leaked diplomatic cables from 2007. Mr Yu has talked about tensions between urban development and the environment.
Zhang Gaoli is party chief of Tianjin, a large and wealthy city east of Beijing.
Born in Fujian, he graduated from Xiamen University after studying statistics and economics. He spent the early part of his career working in the oil industry, before becoming an official in the southern province of Guangdong in the mid-1980s.
His career took off from 1998 as party boss of the southern boomtown of Shenzhen, across the border from Hong Kong.
While overseeing the city's development, he also established close ties with former President Jiang Zemin and his supporters, a relationship which helped ensure Mr Zhang's promotion to governor of the province of Shandong in 2002.
Mr Zhang has been a low-profile leader in Tianjin, and little is known about his views or personal life.