Hurun Report released the Hurun Global self-made women billionaires list, a ranking of the self-made women billionaires found in the world on International Women’s Day, 8 March 2017.

“There can be no question anymore that China is the best place in the world to be a woman entrepreneur. The question I am often asked is ‘Why is China producing so many of the world’s most successful women in business?’ There is no Chinese in the Top 10 of the world’s self-made billionaire men, yet 6 of the Top 10 world’s self-made women billionaires are from China,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, Chairman and Chief Researcher of Hurun Report.

“The one-child policy coupled with traditional childcare, whereby grandparents often play a much larger role in bringing up the children than in developed countries, is perhaps a reason. Another is the business boom this generation has enjoyed in China.”

Here are the top 6 self-made women entrepreneurs in China’s tech scene:

Zhou Qunfei

Place in list: 2nd

Net worth: US$ 6 billion

Company: Lens Technology

Zhou Qunfei (Image credit: New York Times)

‘Touchscreen Queen’ Zhou Qunfei was the richest self-made women in the world in 2015, after her company went public. Zhou Qunfei was born in Hunan Province and worked as a factory worker. As the mobile phone era came, Zhou helped Motorola develop a glass screen for their new device, and later received orders from HTC, Nokia, and Samsung. By 2015, Apple and Samsung were her two biggest customers.

Zhang Xin

Place in list: 17th

Net worth: US$ 3.1 billion

Company: SOHO China

zhang xin
Zhang Xin (Image credit: Forbes)

Zhang Xin and her husband Pan Shiyi run real estate developer SOHO China, which is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and owns office towers in Shanghai and Beijing. In 2014, Soho China launched co-working space “SOHO 3Q” and is renting out more than 13,000 desks. Pan Shiyi is Soho China chairman, while Zhang is CEO. The Beijing residents founded the SOHO China Foundation in 2005 as a philanthropic organization to engage in education focused initiatives to alleviate poverty.

Ma Dongmin

Place in list: 20th

Net worth: US$ 2.9 billion

Company: Baidu

Robin Li and Ma Dongmin (Image credit: Vvcat)

In 2017, Ma Dongmin (Melissa Ma), the wife of Baidu’s CEO Robin Li returned as a special assistant in Baidu, responsible for Baidu’s investment, human resources, and finance (Chinese source).

When calculating the wealth of the women billionaires, Hurun only counted wealth that can be independently verified in their name. In the case of Robin Li and Ma Dongmin of Baidu, Hurun has valued her independently based on her individual shareholding.

Wu Yan

Place in list: 236th

Net worth: US$ 1.9 billion

Company: Lens Technology Hakim

Wu Yan (Image credit: Hakim Unique)

Hangzhou-based ‘media & entertainment queen’ Wu Yan is, at 36-year-old, the youngest self-made billionaire. She is currently chairman of Hakim Unique Media Group. In 2012, Hakim shares (later changed to Hakim Unique) listed on the Shenzhen stock exchange, which led Wu Yan to become China’s youngest female chairman. Founded in 2001, Hakim is now the leading service provider of smart city solutions and has been recognized as the National top 10 IT service provider and National Top 10 Enterprise in Intelligent Building Industry.

Chen Xiaoying

Place in list: 41st

Net worth: US$ 1.7 billion

Company: STO Express

chen xiaoying
Chen Xiaoying (Image credit: Hubgold)

Chen Xiaoying is sister to Chen Dejun, Chairman of STO Express. Founded in 1993, Shentong (STO) Express is a Chinese delivery firm based in Shanghai, delivering one in six parcels in China. Its major competitors include ZTO Express, SF Express, and Shanghai YTO Express.

Peng Lei

Place in list: 58th

Net worth: US$ 1.4 billion

Company: Ant Financial

Peng Lei (Image credit: Forbes)

Peng Lei (Lucy Peng), a co-founder of Alibaba established the online financial services company in 2014 to cater to small businesses. Peng became a billionaire in 2014 upon Alibaba’s valuation prior to its record-setting IPO. Peng previously taught at the Zhejiang University of Finance and Economics for five years. She quit teaching after marrying, and with her husband joined Jack Ma in founding Alibaba in September 1999.

Other interesting details

  • TMT has the most number of self-made women billionaires with 13, followed by Manufacturing and Retail with 11 billionaires each. The main difference with the Hurun Global Rich List 2017, was that Investment came in third above Real Estate.
  • Among 88 billionaires from 12 countries, China has the most number of self-made women billionaires with 56, followed by the USA with 15.
  • Average wealth US$2.2bn, up 11%; Average age 57 years, seven years younger than those on the Hurun Global Rich List.
  • 67% derived wealth from publicly listed companies.
  • Top three cities in the world for self-made women billionaires are all in China, led by Beijing with 10 billionaires, followed by Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Hangzhou.

Eva Yoo is Shanghai-based tech writer. Reach her at