Friday, 30 September 2011

Wealthiest self-made woman? It’s not Oprah!

It's official, Oprah is not the richest self-made woman in the world. The crown is now worn by a Chinese lady. And she's much richer than Malaysia's richest man.

(CNN) – In the world of wealthy women, China is leading the way.

Of 28 self-made female billionaires around the world, 18 came from China, according to a recent report compiled by Hurun Report ranking China’s wealthy.

Hurun reported that of the top 10 self-made female billionaires in the world, seven are Chinese. U.S. media mogul Oprah Winfrey barely made the top ten, with her $2.7 billion fortune putting her as the 8th richest self-made woman in the world. Rosalia Mera of Spain’s fashion powerhouse Zara came in third, with a net worth of $4.5 billion. Benetton clothing’s Guiliana Benetton’s $2.5 billion fortune put her at number 10, according to Hurun.

Wu Yanjun, executive director of Longfor Properties Co. based in Chongqing municipality, was also ranked the richest self-made woman in the world and the 7thrichest person in China with a net worth of 42 billion yuan ($6.6 billion). Yang Huiyan, of Country Garden Real Estate ranked as China’s second richest woman and 10thrichest overall with a personal fortune of 36 billion yuan ($5.6 billion), followed by Chen Lihua of Fu Wah International, an industrial investment company, whose 33 billion yuan ($5.2 billion) fortune made her the third richest woman and the 16thrichest person in China.

Of the top five richest women in China, four attained their fortunes through the country’s blistering real estate market.

The average wealth of the top 50 female billionaires in China was 9.7 billion yuan ($1.5 billion), up 47% from two years ago; the fortunes of 33 women on this year’s top 50 were self made rather than inherited, compared to 30 last year.

Hurun’s Top 50 Rich List on wealth in China shows the number of billionaires in China increasing to 271 individuals, compared to 189 last year and more than double 2009’s 130. This puts the number of billionaires in China as second only to the U.S., which has more than 400.

Rupert Hoogewerf, Chairman and Chief Research at Hurun, noted that there were probably many more billionaires in China who preferred to remain off the radar.

The cut-off for Hurun’s list of the top 1000 richest people in China continues to climb, with this year’s cut-off at $310 million, up from last year’s $220 million and $150 million in 2009.

“China’s rich have defied the global financial crisis with another record year of growth,” said Hoogewerf.

This explosion of wealth means that some wealthy Chinese are turning to philanthropy to share their fortunes. According to the Huran Philanthropy List 2011, the most generous philanthropist, Cao Dewang of Fuyao Glass, donated $700 million this year. Cao has, to date, donated 40% of his assets to charity.

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