Seven self-made female billionaires have struck it rich on China's mainland.
Half the world's 14 self-made female billionaires have struck it rich on China's mainland. They include Hong Kong entrepreneur Chu Lam Yiu, who peddles ingredients to China's tobacco companies, and Xiu Li Hawken, a U.K. citizen who helps run below-ground shopping centers in China. Hawken is one of three women to debut on this year's billionaires list after their companies went public on Asian stock exchanges in the past 18 months. Another real estate fortune belongs to Wu Yajun, who took her Longfor Properties public in November and is now the world's richest self-made woman.
Wu Yajun $3.9 billion China NEW
Chief executive of real estate developer Longfor Properties; took it public on Hong Kong stock exchange in 2009. As an engineer, worked at Qianwei Meter Factory for four years; spent next five working at the China Shirong News Agency. Shortly after began developing real estate in her hometown of Chongqing. Now has properties in ten cities.
Xiu Li Hawken $2.4 billion U.K. NEW
Biggest shareholder in Renhe Commercial Holdings, which listed in Hong Kong in 2008 and runs shopping centers that occupy what were underground military shelters. Graduated from China's Heilongjiang University in 1986 with a degree in Chinese literature.
Chu Lam Yiu $2.1 billion Hong Kong UP
Chairman of Huabao International, which makes flavorings folded into cigarettes, detergents, beverages, dairy products and cosmetics. Founded company a decade ago and took it public through a reverse takeover.
Zhang Xin $2 billion China UP
Goldman Sachs alum founded and runs property developer Soho China with her husband, Pan Shiyi.
Yan Cheung $1.7 billion China RETURNEE
China's paper queen makes a big comeback: worth $265 million in October 2008, her fortune is up sixfold with a resurging stock market. Daughter of a Guangdong Province army officer and eldest of eight children, Yan got her start importing waste paper in Hong Kong in 1985. After a stint running a recycling plant in the U.S., Yan returned to China to launch Nine Dragons (whose name implies "highest fortune") with her husband and brother. All three are billionaires; she is chairman.
Chan Laiwa $1.1 billion China NEW
Real estate investor is developing properties on Jinbao Street, Beijing's luxury shopping district. Customers and partners include the Regent Hotel, the Hong Kong Jockey Club, Ferrari and Lamborghini. Chan is also curator and founder of China Red Sandalwood Museum. Exchanges between the museum and others, such as the Smithsonian, have made her a "cultural diplomat."
Lei Jufang $1.1 billion China NEW
Runs Tibet Cheezheng Tibetan Medicine, which makes ointments and products designed to relieve pain and respiratory problems. Shares, first publicly offered in August, trade at 46 times trailing earnings.
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