Two approaches are described for the synthesis of ultra-low platinum loading catalysts for polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC). The first approach is the synthesis of a hybrid cathode catalyst (HCC) which combines a non-platinum carbon based composite catalyst (CCC) with active catalytic sites for oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) as a support and highly active Pt/Pt-alloy catalysts. The activity of HCC is found to be 1.3 times higher than that of Pt/C in the platinum loading range of 0.1-0.4 mg cm-2, while it is 2.6 times that of Pt/C at platinum loading of 0.04 mg cm-2. The goal of our second strategy is the development of activated graphitic carbon (AGC) supported Pt3M1 (M=nonprecious transition metal) catalyst (Pt3M1/AGC). The Pt3M1/AGC catalyst showed mass activity of 0.41 A mgPt-1 and specific activity of 1023 μA/cm2 at 0.9 ViR-free. Fuel cell performance evaluation under H2/air exhibited a high current density performance of 1.45 A at 0.56 ViR-free.