Three of World's Five Wealthiest Women Are Chinese

September 29, 2013
Editor: Sun Xi

"Paper Queen" Zhang Yin is the founder and chairperson of Nine Dragons Paper, China's largest containerboard producer. [China Daily]

"Paper Queen" Zhang Yin is the founder and chairperson of Nine Dragons Paper, China's largest containerboard producer. [China Daily]

Half of the world's wealthiest female billionaires are Chinese, according to a respected ranking published on September 24, 2013 by a Shanghai-based business magazine.

According to the Hurun Report's "Hurun China's Women Rich List 2013", three of the world's five wealthiest women with assets of over US$1bn – and six of its top 10 – are Chinese. None of the world's top 10 richest men are from mainland China.

China's wealthiest woman is Yang Huiyan, the 32-year-old heiress to Country Garden, an expansive property developer in the affluent southern province Guangdong. Yang has assets of 51bn yuan (£5.2bn). She graduated from Ohio State University in 2003.

Yang is followed by Chen Lihua, 72, of Fu Wah International, an "industrial investment company" founded in Hong Kong in 1988. Chen, worth 37bn yuan, was named one of "the world's 100 most influential people" by Time magazine last year for her philanthropic efforts.

About a quarter of the list's 50 wealthiest women work in real estate; 18% of them are involved in finance. China's richest women are generally younger than their male counterparts, with an average age of 48 compared with 52.

"What I've asked myself is: why are Chinese women so successful? I think there are a number of different dynamics at play," said Rupert Hoogewerf, the Hurun Report's publisher and chairman. "One is that there's the one-child policy, which means that they have a very short career break, compared with someone who has three children or more. Plus there's the fact that in Chinese society, children are brought up by grandparents, traditionally," giving mothers more time to pursue their careers.

"Another dynamic is that it might just be this generation – relatively speaking, they're much more successful here than in the rest of the world," he added.

The ranks of China's super-rich have grown exponentially in recent years. One decade ago, China had no billionaires. Last year, it had 64. When the Hurun Report unveiled its 2013 rich list last week, ranking China's 1,000 wealthiest individuals, it had 315.

Women have also established a growing presence at the highest rungs of the country's corporations. In 2013, women held 51% of all senior management positions in China – a higher proportion than any other country and up from only 25% last year, according to a report by the Chicago-based accounting firm Grant Thornton.

Yet women still occupy few spots in China's top political leadership – only two sit on the 25-member politburo, the country's central decision-making body.

(Source: Global Times)

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