Fortune magazine published on Monday a list of the 50 most powerful women in the world, among whom 10 are from mainland China. We picked five out of the ten businesswomen, and here they are:
Gree Electric Appliances Inc.
Chairwoman & CEO
As the CEO of China’s largest air conditioning manufacturer, Gree Electric Appliances, Dong, now aged 62 years old, ranks 11th on the list.
Although the company had a revenue of only USD 15.9 billion in 2015 – suffering a YoY decrease of 29% – Dong proposed moving beyond just air-conditioners, and starting producing smartphones. She promised that the first generation of Gree smartphone would be free of out-of-order moments for at least three years, and said that more than 100 million units have been sold.
Dong joined Gree in the late 1990s, when she was a 36-year-old widowed single mother. Over the next 15 years, she worked to the top of the ladder as a salesperson.
Dong is seen as a symbol of China’s traditional manufacturing industry. Both her aggressive style and her strong belief in traditional manufacturing stand out in China’s fast and unpredictable Internet age.
Lucy Peng (Peng Lei)
Aged 43, Peng was an economics teacher before she became a co-founder of Alibaba. This April, she resigned from the post of Alibaba’s Chief Human Officer, and focused on the business of Ant Financial – Alibaba’s financial arm. Peng ranks 16th on the list.
Ant Financial – having Alipay under its control – has grown into a powerful competitor of PayPal, with over 400 million active users as of June 2015. This April, Ant Financial secured financing of USD 4.5 billion, pushing its valuation to USD 60 billion. It’s expected to initiate an IPO in early 2017.
Peng joined Alibaba in 2001 to follow her husband Sun Tongyun, the former president of Alibaba’s online shopping platform Taobao. She took the position of Alipay’s CEO in 2010, and became the CEO of Ant Financial in 2013.
Considered as the right-hand woman of Jack Ma, Peng is reknown for her strong character and decisiveness.
Maggie Wu (Wu Wei)
Ranked 32nd on the list, the 48-year-old Wu was an audit partner at KPMG. She has been CFO at Alibaba Group for three years.
In 2014, when Alibaba had its IPO, its stock price fell 28% at the end of its first financial year. Nevertheless, in 2015, Alibaba’s revenue enjoyed a YoY growth of 28%.
Alibaba aims to have over half of its income coming from outside of China. For now, the road ahead is long – Wu is to witness and participate in the hard work ahead.
Jean Liu (Liu Qing)
Although the daughter of Lenovo’s founder Liu Chuanzhi, Jean Liu is a successful female leader in her own right. The 38-year-old ranks 36th on the list.
Liu joined the ride-hailing company Didi Dache in 2014. The firm later acquired Kuaidi Dache, and changed their name to Didi Chuxing. This early August, Didi announced that it would acquire Uber China, and became undoubtedly the largest ride-hailing platform in China.
The company offers a full range of mobility options for nearly 300 million users, covering over 400 Chinese cities. In Q2 2016, 16 million rides were completed on Didi’s platform on an average daily basis; the number for the whole of 2015 was 1.43 billion rides. Didi is now valued at USD 35 billion.
Graduated from Peking University in 2000 with a Bachelor’s Degree, and Harvard University in 2002 with a Master’s Degree in computer science, Liu’s work ethic and abilities helped her become one of the youngest managing directors at Goldman Sachs Asia.
Founder & CEO
Poverty made Zhou drop out of school at the age of 16 to work at a factory in Shenzhen, producing watch crystals. Six years later in 1993, she founded her own touch-screen company, Lens Technology. Now aged 46, Zhou is 48th in Fortune’s list of 50 most powerful women in the world.
Zhou became China’s richest self-made woman in 2014, with her company providing touch screens for leading smartphone manufacturers, including Samsung, Apple, and LG. In March of 2015, Lens Technology landed on China’s second board.
Other than the above five powerful women, other Chinese businesswomen that are listed on the Fortune magazine are: Wu Yajun, chairwoman of real estate developer Longfor Properties, ranked 26th; Christianson Sun (Sun Wei), CEO of Morgan Stanley China, ranked 31st; Jennifer Li (Li Xinshen), CFO of Baidu, ranked 34th; Rachel Duan (Duan Xiaoying), CEO and president of General Electric China, ranked 35th; and Sun Yafang, chairwoman of Huawei Technologies, ranked the 38th.
(Top photo from Pixabay.com)