China is home to Two-thirds of the World’s Self-made Women Billionaires

The founder of modern China, Mao Tse-tung, once said that, “Women hold up half the sky,” emphasizing the importance of women in restoring China to the great power that it once was.

Sky-holding up aside, new data from Chinese research institute Hurun Report, shows that eight out of 10 of the world’s richest self-made women are from China.

Of the 73 self-made women billionaires in the world, China dominates with 49 on the list, followed by the US with 14 followed by the UK and Spain with 2 each.


“China is setting the global benchmark for women in business,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun Report Chairman and Chief Researcher

Zhou Qunfei sits on the top of the list. Known as the “touchscreen Queen”,  she was raised by her blind father and dropped out of school at age 16. She later founded Lens, a company that makes touchscreens for mobile devices. After taking her company public, she’s now worth an estimated $7.8 billion.

Some highlights from the report:

  • 36 of the China Top 50 are self-made, or 72%, one more than last year. 8 are born in the seventies, and one in the eighties: media investor Wu Yan, 34, of Hakim.
  • Of the 14 who inherited their wealth, the richest was Yang Huiyan, 34, of real estate developer Country Garden, with US$6.3bn.
  • Industry: Real estate was the biggest wealth creator on the list, for one in four, followed by investments for 15% of the list.
  • Cut-off to Top 50 was US$1.2bn, up 50% year on year; average wealth US$2.3bn, up 33%.
  • Comparing the Top 50 Women with the Top 50 Men from the Hurun China Rich List, the men are on average four times as wealthy.
  • Headquarters: Beijing and Shenzhen lead the way, with 11 and 10, followed by Shanghai with 5.
  • Birthplace: Women born in Guangdong topped the list with 5, followed by Beijing. Women born in Zhejiang are under-represented, since the Zhejiang businessman leads the Hurun Rich List 2015, but there are only 2 women on the Top 50.
  • New faces. 14 new faces, one less than last year, of which all but one are self-made.
  • Political Appointments: 7 individuals or 14% have senior political appointments, one more than last year, a higher percentage than that of the Hurun Rich List 2015 (11.3%).
    Average age is 46, two years younger than last year and 8 years younger than those on the Hurun Rich List 2015.

Top 10 Self-made Female Billionaires



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