World’s top 10 self-made women billionaires have lost quarter of fortunes since January, Hurun says

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The 11 women that make up the world’s top 10 self-made female billionaires in dollar terms have lost a quarter of their wealth since January 15, because of fluctuations in the stock market, Hurun Research Institute said on Wednesday.

These billionaires, 10 of whom are from China, were worth a combined US$165 billion as of January 15, said Hurun, which is well known for its China rich lists. They have since lost about US$41 billion altogether. A sharp decline in the stock market over the past four months has resulted in big changes in their personal net worth, Hurun said. These are not the richest women worldwide, only self-made billionaires.

“The loss in their net worth appears to be severe,” said Ding Haifeng, a consultant with Shanghai-based financial advisory firm Integrity. “But the billionaires’ stories, particularly the Chinese entrepreneurs, will continue to inspire women around the world to create their own businesses,” he said.

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Plummeting share prices in tandem with a market downturn in mainland China and Hong Kong over the past four months have dented the wealth of these billionaires. For instance, Hengrui Medicine, a company owned by Zhong Huijuan, who tops the list and is the world’s richest self-made female billionaire, fell 22.6 per cent between January 15 and Wednesday. Detergent maker Blue Moon, which is controlled by Pan Dong, was among the top decliners and shed 44.3 per cent in this period.

Zhong, 60, the chief executive of Hansoh Pharmaceutical Group, had a personal fortune of US$23 billion as of January 15. She was followed by Fan Hongwei, 54, the owner of China’s largest fibre producer Hengli. Her net worth was valued at US$22 billion on January 15.

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Wu Yajun, 57, who amassed a fortune of US$17 billion through her real estate company Longfor, was in third place. Zhou Qunfei, 51, the founder of Lens Technology, with a net worth of US$15.5 billion; Lu Zhongfang, 79, the founder of Offcn, whose core business is recruitment and training for public occupation, with US$15 billion in personal wealth; and Wang Laichun, 54, the owner of Luxshare Precision, which makes cables, connectors and motors, with a fortune of US$14 billion, came next on the list.

In seventh place, Cheng Xue, 51, the owner of soy sauce brand Haitian, had a net worth of US$11.5 billion as of January 15. Wang Ying, 39, who founded e-cigarette company Relx, was in eighth place with a fortune of US$11 billion.

Denise Coates, who owns gambling platform Bet365, was the only non-Chinese person on the list. UK-based Coates took ninth place with a fortune of US$10.5 billion.

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Blue Moon’s Pan, and Zhao Yan, who chairs Hong Kong-listed Bloomage Biotechnology, which makes hyaluronic acid, an ingredient used in anti-ageing skin creams, shared the 10th spot with a net worth of US$10 billion each.

Among the 130 women billionaires in the world, 85 – or about two-thirds – were from China.

“If you want to understand the spirit of the most successful women in business alive today, you must start from China,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, the chairman and chief researcher at Hurun.

“Each year for the past 10 years, China has accounted for two-thirds of the world’s most successful women billionaires. Once might be lucky, but not eleven years on the trot. This is no longer luck.”

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