There are 2,668 billionaires in the world. Of them, only 327 are women. Many of these women inherited their wealth, but 101 of them acquired their fortune through entrepreneurial grit.
China has consistently remained in the top spot for the country with the most self-made women. The country has two-thirds of the world’s total self-made women billionaires. Many of these women were able to increase their fortunes because of rising stock prices. Last year, China broke records with 57. This year, there are 45. While the number of billionaires in the world has fallen by 87 in the last year, 3 new self-made Chinese women billionaires were added to the list in 2022.
Coming in second with the most self-made women billionaires is the United States with 24.
While only 30% of female billionaires are self-made, the number is steadily increasing to catch up to the 76% that account for their male counterparts.
Here are the top 10 pioneers paving the way.
1. Fan Hongwei
Fan Hongwei is the CEO and chair of Hengli Petrochemical, a chemical fibre and oil refining company. She is also the vice chair of Hengli Group, its holding company. Her net worth is €17.2 billion.
2. Rafaela Aponte
Swiss-born Italian Rafaela Aponte founded Mediterranean Shipping Company with her husband in 1970. With hundreds of vessels in over 150 countries, the company is the world’s largest shipping line. Supply chain issues around the globe helped boost shipping container companies’ profits. This allowed the couple to increase their fortune by almost €5.8 billion. Aponte’s net worth is €15.8 billion.
3. Wu Yajun
Former journalist for the China Shirong News Agency, Wu Yajun cofounded Longfor Properties in 1993 with her husband at the time. The Hong Kong-listed real estate developer has 61 shopping centres across China. Her net worth is €14.5 billion. Wu’s family office, Wu Capital, is an investment firm which has invested in technology companies like Uber and Evernote.
4. Diane Hendricks
In 1982, Diane Hendricks cofounded the building materials company ABC Supply with her late husband. She has expanded the company from just 3 locations to now 811. Hendricks has also driven revenue beyond €10 billion per year, making ABC Supply the biggest roofing material distributor in the US. Her net worth is €10.1 billion.
5. Judy Love
Americans Judy and Tom Love used a $5,000 loan to open a gas station in 1964. Today, there are 590 Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores in 41 states. The company’s revenue is estimated at €24.1 billion. Judy acts as executive secretary, and she serves on the Love Family Fund board. Her net worth is about €9.2 billion.
6. Wang Laichun
Wang Laichun cofounded Luxshare Precision Industry with her brother in 2004. The cable and connectors manufacturing company services customers as notable as Apple. They supply cables for Apple’s hugely popular iPhone and manufacture their AirPods. In 2010, the company went public on the Shenzen Stock Exchange. Laichun serves as the chairman. Her net worth is almost €9 billion.
7. Zhong Huijuan
In 1995, Zhong Huijuan quit her job as a middle school chemistry teacher to start the drug-making company, Jiangsu Hansoh Pharmaceutical Group. The company grew rapidly and by 1997 was already making millions. In 2019, Hansoh became the biggest producer of psychotropic drugs in China. Huijuan owns over three-quarters of its shares, and she chairs the company. Her net worth is €7.6 billion. Fans of the hit TV series Breaking Bad often compare Huijuan to the show’s protagonist, Walter White.
8. Lynda Resnick
Lynda Resnick founded the Los Angeles-based Wonderful Company with her husband in 1979. The company is responsible for producing popular food and drink items—most notably, Fiji Water. Resnick oversees the marketing and product development departments and serves as vice chair. Her net worth is approximately €7.6 billion.
9. Zhou Qunfei
The fifth Chinese woman to make the top 10, Zhou Qunfei is the CEO and founder of smartphone screen manufacturer, Lens Technology. Samsung and Microsoft are some of the company’s high-profile customers. As a teenager, Qunfei dropped out of school and went to work in a factory. At night, she took classes for accounting and began strategising for how she would build her own business. While shares in her company have dropped quite significantly since March 2021, Qunfei’s net worth is €6.7 billion.
10. Judy Faulkner
Last of the top 10 is American entrepreneur and computer programmer, Judy Faulkner. In 1979, Faulkner founded Epic Systems, a medical-record software provider, out of a Wisconsin basement. She is the CEO of the company and owns 47% of it. Epic is used by top medical centres like Mayo Clinic and John Hopkins. Faulkner’s net worth is €6.6 billion.
At Private Client Consultancy, we are inspired by the women who are working to level the playing field. To read our article on the Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship that was featured in the A&H Q2 edition, click here.
If you have any questions about how we can help make your money work harder for you, contact us today.