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Sun Hung Kai’s Kwong Siu-hing isn’t the richest woman in Asia – which 3 female Chinese entrepreneurs are worth more?

South China Morning Post logo South China Morning Post 7/5/2020
a person standing in front of a building: You might have heard of Hong Kong’s Kwong Siu-hing, but who are Asia’s other richest women? Photo: David Wong/Twitter You might have heard of Hong Kong’s Kwong Siu-hing, but who are Asia’s other richest women? Photo: David Wong/Twitter

You can't talk about the richest women in Asia without expecting to see China dominating the list. After all, China ranks as the world's second largest economy, accounting for nearly a sixth of the global total. So here goes, let's meet the richest women on the world's most populous continent.

Yang Huiyan, China: US$23 billion

a close up of a woman: Yang Huiyan. Photo: Forbes © Provided by South China Morning Post Yang Huiyan. Photo: Forbes

It's hard not to know who she is, as she also ranks fifth on the world's richest women list, and 42nd overall. At only 37 years old, she has an estimated wealth of US$23 billion. While it's true that Yang inherited 57 per cent of real estate developer Country Garden (with recent developments in Malaysia and Australia) from her father, this isn't the only business that she owns.

She is also the chairwoman of Bright Scholar Education. You might think it isn't much " only six international schools, 11 bilingual schools, 34 kindergartens and still growing.

Zhong Huijuan, China: US$14.4 billion

a woman sitting on a table: Zhong Huijuan. Photo: @BeijingReview/Twitter © Provided by South China Morning Post Zhong Huijuan. Photo: @BeijingReview/Twitter

Don't we all love a good success story? This former chemistry teacher is now worth US$14.4 billion. At 59, she owns three quarters of the company, Hansoh Pharmaceutical, sharing the rest with her daughter. And just why is this venture paying off so much?

They offer a wide array of drugs in six different therapeutic areas, namely CNS diseases, diabetes, oncology, anti-infectives, gastrointestinal and cardiovascular. It also doesn't hurt that her husband is involved in the same business venture, Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine. Their combined wealth and reach in the pharmaceutical industry puts them in the same circle as the Sackler and Bertarelli families.

Wu Yajun and family, China: US$14.2 billion

a close up of Wu Yajun: Wu Yajun. Photo: @SinoSolutions/Facebook © Provided by South China Morning Post Wu Yajun. Photo: @SinoSolutions/Facebook

Self-made billionaires are not common. These stories are one in a million, or should we say billion, and Wa Yajun, dubbed the "China Property Queen", has a real-time net worth of US$14.2 billion. How she got from working in a factory, earning US$16 a month to becoming a journalist specialising in real estate, to finally starting her business, Longfor Properties operating out of Hong Kong, is a story for another day.

But we do know that she was inspired to start her company because of the plethora of problems that she encountered whilst trying to purchase her first apartment. And here she is years later, already stepping down and into the background with her daughter, Cai Xinyi, now running it. Just to have an idea of how successful this company is, they have opened 39 shopping malls and have contracted more than 730 property developments.

Kwong Siu-hing, Hong Kong: US$12.4 billion

a man wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: Kwong Siu-hing. Photo: David Wong © Provided by South China Morning Post Kwong Siu-hing. Photo: David Wong

If you think it hasn't been a good year for businesses since the Covid-19 outbreak started, think of how it has been for Hong Kong since the protests started. But don't be too alarmed, for the Kwoks of Sun Hung Kai Properties are still the reigning richest family in Hong Kong, headed by their matriarch, Kwong Siu-hing.

The family has had a long history of drama, not to mention kidnapping, bribery and prison time. Their company is responsible for producing the tallest building in Hong Kong, West Kowloon's International Commerce Centre (ICC), which is 490 metres high and towering to 118 storeys.

This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (www.scmp.com), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia.

Copyright (c) 2020. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

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