Thursday, October 12, 2006

Woman Named the Richest in China

Zhang Yin

The richest entrepreneur now in China, according to the newly released Hurun China Rich List, is Ms. Zhang Yin, Chairwoman of Nine Dragons Paper Industries Company, one of world’s largest manufactures of packaging material based in Dongguan, Gongdong.

Her personal fortune was estimated to be about $3.4 billion, which not only made her the top entrepreneur in China, but also the richest self-made woman in the world - surpassing that of Oprah Winfrey and J.K. Rowling, said Hurun Report, the company that compiled this list.

This is also the first time for a woman to top the China Rich List. The second richest on the list is Mr. Huang Guanyu, with personal fortune amounting at $2.5 billion. There are 35 women on this year’s list, domenstrating the increasing power of women in the private sector of Chinese economy.

Ms. Zhang, 49, was born into a military family in northeastern China province of Heilongjiang. Her career took off at the age of 27, when she came to Hong Kong and started a paper recycling business, recycling waste paper to produce new paper. A few years later, in 1990, she started to recycle paper in the United States and used it as material in her own paper manufacturing factory in Dongguan, established in 1988.

What made her the top of the list was the listing of her company on Hong Kong stock market in March. High price of her company’s stock, of which she owns 75 percent, has helped to boost her fortune.

“I was just lucky,” she once told Chinese media about her success. She said her secret was to “focus on my own work” and “always try to do what I am able to.”

Despite her achievements, she keeps low profile, and many people have never heard of her by the time she was announced the richest entrepreneur in China by Hurun Report on Wednesday.

The China Rich List, first released in 1999, was the creation of English man Rupert Hoogewerf, who also established Hurun Report, a luxury publishing and events group.

The list surveyed thousands of private enterprises around China to find the richest individual who owns or runs the companies, by camparing the stock values owned by these individuals. For non-listed companies, their profits were the basis for evaluation. Inviduals considered for the list were born and raised in China, no matter what passport they might hold today, according to Hurun Report.

On this year's list, real estate, manufacture and information technology are the top three businesses in terms of the fortune they possess. Individuals from IT sector started to appear on the list only a few years ago.

Apparently, Chinese entrepreneurs’ fortune keeps growing, pushing the bench mark of the list about $37 million higher than last year. Also, Zhejiang, Guangdong, Shanghai, Beijing and Jiangsu are home to most of these entrepreneurs, according to the list.
----by Josie Liu

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