SINGAPORE - Move aside, Dustin Moskovitz.
The youngest billionaire on the planet, according to Forbes, is now 24-year-old Perenna Kei from Hong Kong. Facebook co-founder Moskovitz, then 28, was the world's youngest billionaire last year.
With a net worth of US$1.3 billion (S$1.65 billion), Ms Kei made her debut on the annual Forbes’ billionaires list announced on March 3, 2014. Ms Kei, previously known as Ji Peili, is a non-executive director of the Hong Kong-listed Logan Property Holdings, which is founded by her father, Mr Ji Haipeng.
A total of 172 women made it onto the global list of 1,645 billionaires this year, a record high and up from 138 in 2013.
Here’s a look at Asia’s 20 richest women:
1. Yang Huiyan, 30 Net worth: US$6.9 billion (S$8.75 billion) (as of March 2014) Ranking: #196 on Forbes’ The Richest People On The Planet 2014 list Source of wealth: Real EstateCountry: China
Ms Yang Huiyan is the richest woman in China. She is the daughter of property tycoon Yang Guoqiang, who founded Country Garden Group. Now the main shareholder of Country Garden Holdings after her father transferred his shares to her, Ms Yang is also the group’s vice-chairman and she runs the company together with other family members. The media-shy Yang is married and holds a degree in arts and science from Ohio State University.
2 Pansy Ho, 51Net worth: US$6.4 billionRanking: #212 on Forbes’ The Richest People On The Planet 2014 list Source of wealth: Casinos Country: Hong Kong, China
Ms Pansy Ho, the daughter and heir apparent of casino tycoon Stanley Ho, is the richest woman in Hong Kong. She is the managing director of her family’s conglomerate Shun Tak Holdings, which has its core business in transportation, property and hospitality. After graduating with a degree in marketing and international business management from the University of Santa Clara in California, she had a brief career in show business in Hong Kong, starring in the 1981 TVB drama Breakthrough with actor Danny Chan. She is also the co-chairman of MGM China, and chairman of Jetstar Hong Kong. She is one of 17 children by her father’s four wives, and is divorced from Mr Julian Hui, son of shipping magnate Hui Sai Fun.
3. Chan Laiwa, 73 Net worth: US$6 billionRanking: #234 on Forbes’ The Richest People On The Planet 2014 list Source of wealth: Real estateCountry: China
A self-made billionaire, Ms Chan Laiwa, also known as Chen Lihua, is the founder of Fu Wah International Group, one of the largest commercial property developers in China. She is apparently a descendant of the Manchu dynasty and was born in the Summer Palace. But poverty forced her to stop her studies after high school. She moved to Hong Kong, where she started a furniture business that was so successful she managed to save up and buy 12 villas. She founded Fu Wah in 1988, investing in luxury hotels including Regent Beijing and Legendale Hotel Beijing, apartments and office buildings. The company also invests in culture and arts, and Ms Chan is the founder and curator of China Sandalwood Museum in Beijing.
4. Savitri Jindal, 63Net worth: US$4.9 billionRanking: #295 on Forbes’ The Richest People On The Planet 2014 list Source of wealth: SteelCountry: India
Ms Savitri Jindal was once Asia’s richest woman. But with the continuous problems faced by OP Jindal Group which was founded by her late husband, she has lost US$8.3 billion of her fortune since 2011. She is still India’s richest woman, and is the non-executive chairman of the Jindal Group, a US$18 billion conglomerate with businesses in mining, steel making, power, industrial gases and port facilities. Following in the footsteps of her industrialist-turned-politician late husband O.P. Jindal, who died in a helicopter crash in 2005, the mother of nine served as Power Minister in the government of Haryana from 2005 to 2009. She was appointed Urban Local Bodies Department Minister last year.
5. Wu Yajun, 50Net worth: US$3.7 billionRanking: #408 on Forbes’ The Richest People On The Planet 2014 list Source of Wealth: Real estateCountry: China
Ms Wu Yajun was once the richest woman in China, but lost the title to Ms Yang Huiyan after divorcing her husband – billionaire businessman Cai Kui – in 2012. Formerly a journalist, Ms Wu started Longfor Properties in Chongqing in 1994 together with Mr Cai, and they grew the company to become one of the largest real estate players in China. She holds a degree in navigation engineering and worked as a journalist and editor with China Shirong News Agency from 1988 to 1993.
6. Zhang Xin, 48Net worth: US$3.7 billionRanking: #408 on Forbes’ The Richest People On The Planet 2014 list Source of wealth: Real estate Country: China
Ms Zhang Xin is the CEO of SoHo China, the largest property developer in central Beijing, best known for its iconic building designs. Born in Beijing, she moved to Hong Kong with her mother and worked in garment and electronics factories to save money to study in London. She graduated from Cambridge University in 1992 with a Master’s Degree in development economics, and started her career in investment banking with Barings and later Goldman Sachs and Travelers Group, before returning to her hometown. In 1995, she and her entrepreneur husband Pan Shiyi founded Soho. They are often known as Beijing’s "It" couple, and were once described as “China’s most visible and flamboyant property tycoons” by The Times of London. They have two children.
7. Angela Leong, 52Net worth: US$2.8 billionRanking: #609 on Forbes’ The Richest People On The Planet 2014 list Source of wealth: Casinos Country: Hong Kong, China
Guangzhou-born Anglea Leong was a dance teacher when she met casino tycoon Stanley Ho in 1986. She is now the mother of five of his children and managing director of SJM Holdings, Asia’s biggest casino operator which was founded by Mr Ho. She is also a member of the Legislative Council of Macau.
8. Indu Jain, 77Net worth: US$2.3 billionRanking: #764 on Forbes’ The Richest People On The Planet 2014 list Source of wealth: Media Country: India
Ms Indu Jain is the chairman of India’s largest media conglomerate, Bennett, Coleman & Co. She took over from her husband Ashok Jain, who died in 1999. The group not only publishes 13 newspapers including The Times Of India and The Economic Times, as well as 18 magazines, but also runs the popular Times Now English news channel, an FM radio network with 32 stations, and various online ventures. Known to be a philanthropist and educationalist, the mother of two sons is also the chairman of Times Foundation, a development house she set up that promotes equitable, inclusive and sustainable development.
9. Chen Jinxia, 45Net worth: US$1.8 billionRanking: #988 on Forbes’ The Richest People On The Planet 2014 list Source of wealth: InvestmentsCountry: China
Ms Chen Jinxia's husband Wei Dong was one of China’s most successful financial entrepreneurs. After he committed suicide in 2008 by jumping out of the balcony despite her trying to hold him back, she took over the running of Hunan Yongjin Group which he had founded. The financial consulting group has investments in securities and pharmaceutical, and Ms Chen’s net worth reportedly increased by US$250 million in the last year.
9. Chu Lam Yiu, 44 Net worth: US$1.8 billionRanking: #988 on Forbes’ The Richest People On The Planet 2014 list Source of wealth: Fragrances and flavouringsCountry: Hong Kong, China
Call her the elusive queen of fragrance. Born in Sichuan, Ms Chu Lam Yiu is a self-made billionaire who started her own fragrances and flavourings company in Beijing in 1990. After meeting her husband Lam Kwok Man from Guangdong, they moved to Hong Kong, where she founded Huabao International Holdings, one of the largest makers of fragrances and flavourings for tobacco and food in China. Little is known about her personal story though, and she is known to reject media interviews.
11. Lee Myung Hee, 70 Net worth: US$1.7 billionRanking: #1046 on Forbes’ The Richest People On The Planet 2014 list Source of wealth: Retail Country: South Korea
Ms Lee Myung Hee, the fifth daughter of late Samsung founder Lee Byung Chul, is said to be the richest woman in South Korea. She is the chairman of retail powerhouse Shinsegae Group, which owns two mega franchises - Shinsegae department store and E-Mart hypermart. Originally a part of the Samsung Group, Shinsaege is now an independent group with business in fashion, hospitality (Shinsegae Chosun Hotel), food and beverage, as well as construction. Ms Lee is married with two children, and holds a degree in arts and science from Ewha Women’s University.
12. Pollyanna Chu, 56Net worth: US$1.6 billionRanking: #1092 on Forbes’ The Richest People On The Planet 2014 list Source of wealth: Financial servicesCountry: Hong Kong, China
Pollyanna Chu is one of Hong Kong’s most successful businesswomen. She is the chief executive of Kingston Securities, which she co-founded with her husband Nicholas Chu. They met in San Francisco after she moved to the United States at the age of 18, and they moved to Hong Kong in 1992. The couple invest in real estate, and Ms Chu also owns a stake in Birmingham International Holdings and Sincere Fine Watches.
13. He Qiaonv, 48Net worth: US$1.5 billionRanking: #1154 on Forbes’ The Richest People On The Planet 2014 list Source of wealth: Landscaping and interior designCountry: China
Ms He Qiaonv is China’s undisputed queen of landscaping. She is the chairman of Beijing Orient Landscape, one of the largest landscaping and interior design companies in China. Her father had a plant business, and after helping him to market miniature landscaping products during a trade show, she started to sell bonsai trees and plant arrangements to private homes and five-star hotels. In 1992, she founded Beijing Orient Landscape, which she later transformed into a group that specialises in landscape design and maintenance, as well as investment and asset management. Some of her works were seen at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. She owns 54 per cent of Beijing Orient, while her husband Tang Kai has 11 per cent share.
14. Hong Ra Hee, 68 Net worth: US$1.4 billionRanking: #1210 on Forbes’ The Richest People On The Planet 2014 list Source of wealth: SamsungCountry: South Korea
Call her Mrs Samsung. Ms Hong Ra Hee is the wife of Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun Hee, and director of Leeum Samsung Museum. Although she owns 1.083 million shares in Samsung Electronics, she is not active in running the company. Instead, she manages the Samsung-owned museum, which buys artworks and holds exhibitions. She has three children. Her own family runs JoongAng Daily, one of the largest-circulated newspapers in South Korea.
14. Lei Jufang, 61Net worth: US$1.4 billionRanking: #1210 on Forbes’ The Richest People On The Planet 2014 list Source of Wealth: PharmaceuticalsCountry: China
Ms Lei Jufang is the chairman of China’s largest maker of Tibetan medicine Cheezheng, with annual sales of over 400 million yuan (S$82.9 million). Cheezheng products are widely sold at pharmacies all over China, and its pain relief plaster is ranked number one locally. Born poor, Ms Lei dreamed of becoming a scientist and studied physics in university. She worked hard in a science academy in Lanzhou, but the frustration of not being able to share her discoveries with the rest of the world prompted her to start her own science institute focused on the treatment of industrial pollution. Trips to Tibet got her thinking about how to preserve and export the country’s medicine, and that was how she started Cheezheng, which shot to fame after wowing some of China’s Olympic athletes. She is married with a child.
14. Yoshiko Mori, 73Net worth: US$1.4 billionRanking: #1210 on Forbes’ The Richest People On The Planet 2014 list Source of Wealth: Inheritance, real estateCountry: Japan When her property tycoon husband Minoru Mori passed away in 2012, Ms Yoshiko Mori inherited his fortune. Mr Mori was the CEO of Mori Building Co Ltd, a property management firm founded by his father, which oversees more than 100 offices in Japan and China. The company also built the Shanghai World Financial Centre, the tallest building in China, as well as the majestic Roppongi Hills Mori Tower. Ms Mori is a member of the Board of Directors of Mori Building Co and the chairman for Mori Art Museum.
17. Lee Hwa Kyung, 58Net worth: US$1.35 billionRanking: #1270 on Forbes’ The Richest People On The Planet 2014 list Source of Wealth: Food, entertainment Country: South Korea
Ms Lee Hwa Kyung is the head of one of South Korea’s biggest confectionary groups, Orion, which in 2001 separated from Dongyang Group, which was founded by her father. Orion produces more than 100 brands of biscuits, snacks and chewing gum that are sold all over the world, but its most famous product is Choco Pie, a chocolate-covered soft cookie crust with marshmellow filling. In 2012, Ms Lee’s fortunes almost doubled due to Orion’s booming business in China. Now, she has left the food business to her husband Tam Cheol Gon, while she is focused on the group’s entertainment section, with investments in cinema chains and film production. She has two children.
18. Perenna Kei, 24 Net worth: US$1.3 billion Ranking: #1284 on Forbes’ The Richest People On The Planet 2014 list Source of Wealth: Real estate Country: Hong Kong, China
At age 24, Ms Perenna Kei Hoi Ting is the world’s youngest billionaire. Making her debut in the Forbes magazine’s annual ranking of billionaires this year, she is a non-executive director in Logan Property Holdings, which is founded by her father. Logan Property is headquartered in Shenzhen, and Ms Kei holds 85 per cent of its shares. She was previously known as Ji Peili, and holds a degree in economics and finance from the University of London.
18. Lee Boo Jin, 43
Net worth: US$1.3 BillionRanking: #1284 on Forbes’ The Richest People On The Planet 2014 list Source of Wealth: SamsungCountry: South Korea
20. Lee Seo Hyun, 40 Net worth: US$1.2 BillionRanking: #1442 on Forbes’ The Richest People On The Planet 2014 list Source of Wealth: Samsung Country: South Korea They are the Samsung princesses who rule the country's luxury market. Ms Lee Boo Jin and Ms Lee Seo Hyun are the daughters of Samsung Group chairman Lee Kun Hee. The older Ms Lee is the CEO of the Samsung-owned Hotel Shilla, a chain of luxurious hotels and duty-free shops, while the younger Ms Lee is a president at Samsung’s de facto holding company Everland’s fashion empire. Both of them each own a 8.4 per cent stake in Everland, which also operates the largest theme park in South Korea, and a 4.2 per cent stake in Samsung SDS, an information and communication technology service provider. Both Ms Lees are also highly revered fashionistas in South Korea's chaebol (Korean for conglomerate) world. The older long-haired Ms Lee, who launched the first-ever Louis Vuitton boutique in a duty-free shop at Incheon Airport in 2012, is known for her feminine and classic look, while her short-haired sister, who attended Parsons School of Design in New York, prefers urban chic.
Source: Forbes, South China Morning Post, New World Press, The Hindu, Nextinsight.net, Celebritynetworth.com, Livemint.com, The Korea Times, The Korea Herald