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China’s Zhang Yin is world’s richest woman


Beijing: Zhang Yin, the head of a Chinese recycled paper company, is the world’s richest woman in 2010, a media report said Wednesday.

China has the most self-made women entrepreneurs in the world, China Daily reported citing the Hurun List of Self-Made Women Billionaires released Tuesday.

Eleven of the top 20 wealthiest self-made women in the world are Chinese, it said.

Zhang, 53, founder and chairwoman of the Nine Dragons Paper, topped the list of the wealthiest woman in the world with an estimated personal fortune of $5.6 billion.

Wu Yajun, 46, of real estate company Longfor Property, ranked second with $4.1 billion and Chen Lihua, 69, of Fu Wah International, which has diverse business portfolios from hotel to real estate, ranked third with $4 billion.

US talk show host Oprah Winfrey ranked ninth on the list with $2.3 billion in assets and British author J.K. Rowling placed 20th with a fortune of $1 billion.

“China is clearly the leader for women in business,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, the British founder and complier of the Hurun Rich List.

A growing number of Chinese women are climbing the corporate ladder. According to the magazine China Entrepreneur, there are currently more than 29 million female entrepreneurs in China, who account for over 20 percent of the total number of entrepreneurs in the country.

It said that 1,107 A-share listed companies, which represent 67 percent of such companies in the country, employ 1,980 female board members or senior executives.

The London-based Financial Times attributed the figures to Chinese women being among the most ambitious on the planet.

The paper cited a study conducted by the Centre for Work-Life Policy in New York, which found that 76 percent of women in China aspired to top jobs, compared to 52 percent in the US.

Working mothers in China “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”, the centre noted.

Chinese women are often provided cheap childcare by grandparents – four for every child, paper noted.

While the achievements of Chinese women are impressive, they still lag behind their male counterparts.

The Hurun Rich List on China’s wealthiest showed that only 11 percent of the richest people in China are women.

The complete Hurun Rich List ranks 1,363 individuals in China with personal wealth of at least one billion yuan ($150 million), an increase of 363 over last year’s wealthiest.

Chinese beverage king Zong Qinghou, 65, chairman of the Wahaha Group, topped this year’s list with a personal fortune of $12 billion.

Wang Chuanfu, 44, founder and chairman of Chinese battery and car manufacturer BYD, who topped the rich list last year, has seen his wealth decrease by 10 percent, placing him 12th on the list this year, with $4.6 billion in wealth.