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

Sky-holding 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.

In fact, two-thirds of all self-made women billionaires in the world are from China.

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.

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Highlights from the report

  • 36 of the China Top 50 are self-made, or 72 per cent, one more than last year.
  • Eight 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$6.3 billion.
  • Industry: Real estate was the biggest wealth creator on the list, for one in four, followed by investments for 15 per cent of the list.
  • The cut-off to the Top 50 was US$1.2 billion, up 50 per cent year on year; average wealth US$2.3 billion, up 33 per cent.
  • 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 billionaires respectively, 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 businessmen lead the Hurun Rich List 2015, but there are only 2 women in the Top 50.
  • New faces: 14 new faces, one less than last year, of which all but one are self-made.
  • Political appointments: Seven individuals or 14 per cent have senior political appointments, one more than last year, a higher percentage than that of the Hurun Rich List 2015 (11.3 per cent).
  • The average age for a billionaire is 46, two years younger than last year and eight years younger than those on the Hurun Rich List 2015.

And the women are


Zhou Qunfei, ‘Touchscreen Queen’ worth US$7.8 billion

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 US$7.8 billion.

Following is a list of the other nine women to follow her.:


The article China is home to Two-thirds of the World’s Self-made Women Billionaires first appeared on Branding in Asia

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