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China leads world in female billionaires

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The South China Morning Post notes that according to the Hurun Richest Women in China 2017 report, “There are 78 self-made women entrepreneurs worldwide whose total wealth exceeds US$1 billion, 49 of them, or 63 percent, are from China.”

This news amid another report claiming that for the first time, Asia leads the world in its number of wealthy individuals, a shift overwhelmingly driven by Chinese business people.

That’s according to the UBS/PwC Billionaires Report 2017, which states, “On average, a new billionaire was created in Asia every two days.” The South China Morning Post has a rundown of the numbers for China:

  • China added 101 billionaires in 2016, bringing its total to 318.
  • China accounted for half of Asia’s 637 billionaires. For the first time, this total surpassed that of the United States, which has 563 billionaires.
  • The reasons for such rapid wealth accumulation in China include “a combination of geopolitical stability in Greater China, rising Chinese real estate prices, infrastructure spending, the growing middle class and buoyant commodity prices.”
  • The pile of cash accumulated by the megarich in the U.S. still surpasses that of Asia’s, but “the total wealth of Asia’s billionaires will overtake the U.S. in four years.”

As China has become more wealthy and many entrepreneurs have sought new — and more socially sustainable — ways to use their money, philanthropy has also boomed. The Global Chinese Philanthropy Initiative has collected information on this trend, noting that charitable giving in Greater China rose from 61.6 billion yuan ($10.1 billion) in 2009 to 101.9 billion yuan ($16.7 billion) in 2014, and the number of foundations in China grew 430 percent between 2006 and 2016.


Lucas Niewenhuis

Lucas Niewenhuis is an associate editor at SupChina who helps curate daily news and produce the company's newsletter, app, and website content. Previously, Lucas researched China-Africa relations at the Social Science Research Council and interned at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. He has studied Chinese language and culture in Shanghai and Beijing, and is a graduate of the University of Michigan.