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China Leads List of Self-Made Female Billionaires

Barron's logo Barron's 3/8/2018 Fang Block

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Zhou Qunfei, chairwoman and president of Hunan-based Lens Technology, ranked top on Hurun Global Self-Made Women Billionaires List 2018.

China dominated a ranking of the world’s self-made female billionaires, making up almost two-thirds of the total, as well as sweeping the top four spots.

Another 14 self-made female billionaires were added in 2017 to Hurun Global Self-Made Women Billionaires List, bringing the total number to 102.

The eighth edition of the report by Beijing-based media and research firm Hurun Report was published Thursday to mark International Women’s Day.

Topping the list was Zhou Qunfei, 48, founder of Shenzhen-based electronics maker Lens Technology, which counts Apple and Samsung as its main customers. Her assets were valued at US$9.8 billion, up 45% from 2017.

Second and third places were occupied by Chinese women who made their fortunes in real estate development.

In second place was Wa Yajun, 54, chairwoman of Longfor, who saw her net worth increase 83% year-over-year to US$9.3 billion in 2017.

Chen Lihua, 77, chairwoman of Fuwah International Group, had an estimated net worth of US$8.1 billion, increasing 1% from 2016. She was ranked first on the Hurun List 2017 and was in the third place this year.

Among the top 10 on the list, five were billionaires from China and three from the U.S.

Monaco and the U.K. each had one person on the list.

In total, China had 64 self-made women billionaires, representing 63% of the total. Out of the 14 billionaires who made to this year’s list for the first time, eight were Chinese.

"About 30% of the most successful male entrepreneurs in the world are Chinese… Chinese women entrepreneurs are twice as 'successful' as their male counterparts," Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman and chief researcher at Hurun, said in the report.

The Luxembourg-born publisher is better known for his Chinese name Hurun.

U.S. Had Youngest and Oldest Self-Made Female Billionaires

The U.S., with 17 women billionaires, had the second largest share of the list, accounting 17% of the total.

Diane Hendricks, 71, who chairs ABC Supply, one of the largest wholesale distributors of roofing, siding and windows in America, was the highest ranked (fifth place on the list). She had a net worth of US$6.2 billion.

The average age was 58 years old and the youngest and oldest self-made female billionaires were also Americans.

The youngest, Shraddha Agarwal, 33, co-founder and president of the Chicago-based healthcare technology company Outcome Health, had a net worth of US$1.1 billion. New to the list, she was tied with nine others for 90th place.

The oldest woman on the list, Doris Fisher, 87, co-founder of The Gap clothing stores, was ranked 58th with a net worth of US$1.6 billion.

Manufacturing Churns Out Most Women Billionaires

Manufacturing was the industry that produced the largest number of female billionaires at 20.

The other two leading sectors were property (16) and retail/technology (11).

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