Of the 20 richest self-made female billionaires, 11 are Chinese, with wealth averaging $US2.6 billion, compared with ninth-placed Oprah Winfrey’s $US2.3 billion. J.K Rowling, author of the wildly popular Harry Potter books, came bottom of the list, with one billion dollars. “There is no other country that comes even close to touching the number of self-made women in China. They are now head and shoulders above any other country,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, founder and compiler of the Hurun rich list China’s equivalent of the Forbes list
Hoogewerf partly attributed the Chinese women’s business success to the government’s one-child policy and free childcare provided by many grandparents, which has enabled them to spend time building their empires. “That makes a huge difference,” he told AFP, adding that China’s long acceptance of women working outside the home has been another significant factor.
More than half of the 20 richest self-made women in the world are Chinese, with their average fortune beating that of US talk show host Oprah Winfrey and British author J.K. Rowling.
Zhang Yin, 53, the Chinese head of a recycled paper company, Nine Dragons Paper, ranks as the wealthiest self-made woman on earth with an estimated personal fortune of $5.6bn. Wu Yajun, 46, of Longhu Property, comes in second with $4.1bn and Chen Lihua, 69, of Fuhua International, a Hong Kong conglomerate, ranks third with $4bn. The richest non-Chinese is Spaniard Rosalia Mera of Zara, the fashion house, with $3.5bn, and two others who made their fortunes in fashion: Doris Fisher for Gap is eighth and Giuliana Benetton of Benetton is 11th. Oprah Winfrey, the US television show host, ranks ninth with $2.3bn.
Chinese women are also among the most ambitious on earth, according to a study from the Centre for Work-Life Policy in New York, which found 76 per cent of women in China aspired to top jobs, compared with 52 per cent in the US.
Zhang Yin, is the Chinese head of Nine Dragons Paper (Holdings) Limited which is a privately-owned paper manufacturing company in Mainland China, engaging in the manufacturing of containerboard products which include linerboard, duplex board as well as pulp. Established in 1995 Nine Dragons Paper is the largest containerboard manufacturer in China and one of the largest packaging containerboard manufacturer in the world.
Wu Yajun, 43 years old, is the general director of Longfor Real Estate Development Co. Ltd. in Chongqing, Western China’s Sichuan Province. In 1993, Wu Yajun first established Jiacheng Economic Development Company in Chongqing. Then, in June 1995, she founded another company and later changed its name into Longfor Real Estate Development Co., Ltd. Now, her company has more than 2,000 employees. It is believed that Wu’s success has much to do with her details-oriented personality. Additionally, Wu has maintained good relationships with her community and the authorities. In 2006, Longfor group donated 2,000,000 yuan for drought alleviation in Chongqing, and thus won the support of the local government.
Chen Lihua who in her effort to fight poverty and who still believes poverty is the best university, started her ventures with a small furniture repair shop. Chen who was forced to drop out of school due to poverty, used her quick learning, grit and business acumen to scale and expand from one business to another. After setting up her own furniture store in the eighties. Her love for red sandalwood got her to invest and grow the furniture business at fast paced manner and there has been no looking back since then. Today her Fuhua Group has its tentacles across real estate, prime property development, tourism, wines, commerce, aviation services, clubs etc
Working mothers in China and other BRIC countries “are able to aim high, in part because they have more shoulders to lean on than their American and European peers when it comes to childcare. With an average work week of 71 hours for Chinese women, cheap childcare is essential, and in China is often provided by grandparents.Hoogewerf said 95 per cent of the people on this year’s rich list had made their fortunes from China’s growing domestic demand and only five per cent relied on exports, suggesting Beijing’s efforts to retool the economy could be working.