Earlier this week, former law professor Tsai Ing-wen was sworn in as the first female president of Taiwan. With this recent news about the first female president in Taiwan, we are turning our heads to the most wealthy and powerful women in China.

China has long entered the ‘most-wealthy’ list, however recent statistics show that women are starting to hold a larger proportion of the world’s wealth, particularly in China.

According to the Hurun Global Rich List Chinese billionaires overtake USA billionaires for the first time in history. With that being said, two thirds of self-made women billionaires come from China with an astonishing number of 49 against 15 in the U.S and 3 in the UK. Combined together the total wealth of these self-made billionaires amounts to $95.44bn.

Out of the 49 wealthiest women in China, Hurun’s data illustrates that 36 earned their fortune independently.

At this point it is worth taking a look at the 5 women who top the list:

1. Zhou Qunfei known as the richest woman in China founded the touch-screen maker Lens Technology. Her net worth reaches up to $7.8bn.

2. The real estate master Chen Lihua with $7.7bn comes second on the list. Also known as one of the cultural diplomats of China, Lihua rose from poverty to success, marking her as one of the richest women on earth.

3. Third richest woman in China and 22nd overall is Wu Yajun. Also a businesswoman in real estate, her wealth reaches up to $4.2bn.

4. Zhang yin with $4.1bn comes in fourth place. Her company Nine Dragons Paper is China’s biggest paper maker.

5. CEO and co-founder of SOHO China, Zhang Xin gains the fifth spot on the list with $3.4bn.

China is an increasingly attractive destination to do business and these businesswomen are an inspiration to many individuals and young entrepreneurs that wish to begin a career in China.

With the rising economic power of China, women are emerging as economic superpowers. The male-dominated Chinese society is changing with, the rise of influential women taking partial control over economic and political welfares, is the beginning of a changing period in the modern Chinese society.

Though, the conflicting views over women’s role and ideals in Chinese history still remain even in today’s modern China. Criticism has sparked over Taiwan’s first female president when mainland official Wang Weixing, claimed that “she is so extreme because she is single”. “From the human point of view, as a single woman politician, [Tsai] does not have the emotional burden of love, of ‘family’, of children, [so her] political style and executive strategy tends to be emotional, personal and extreme,” Wang wrote.

Yet this sort of criticism can be seen everywhere in the world. Even though there are still many debates about women status in China, we are witnessing more women becoming a major driving force behind China’s economic growth.

Chairman’s Mao famous words that “Women hold up half of the sky” can be the inspiration that young female entrepreneurs need for an empowering and bright future.

On the other hand, back in 2012 we saw that South Korea elected its first female president. Asia has shown and accepted that women can hold political positions way long before Western societies have managed to put women in power. Observers have long believed that Asia is setting an example for the Western world in accepting women in leadership roles. Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar, Yinggluck Shinawatra of Thailand, Indira Gandhi of India and Corazon Aquino of Philippines are a few of past female leaders in Asia.

The rise of influential women taking partial control over economic and political welfares, is the beginning of a changing period in the modern Chinese society.


Malvina Nicolaou