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The 10 Most Self-Made Women in the World

327 of the 2,668 billionaires in the world are women, and most of them have inherited their wealth. 101 women made it, 11 of them sharing a fortune with their husbands.

These women have a combined value of $331 billion and are self-made. They got rich in everything, from roofing and petrochemicals to casinos and Little Caesar’s pizza.

It was a down year for billionaires overall, with 87 fewer names on Forbes‘ World’s Billionaires List in 2022. A number of self-made women also fell by 7 thanks to notable drop-offs like Whitney Wolfe Herd, Bumble founder, and Kate Wang, a Chinese vaping tycoon, who were both newcomers last year.

45 Chinese women are self-made (compared to a record-breaking 57 in 2012). This includes Chan Laiwa, a real estate developer, and Cheng Xue and Li Xuhui, soy sauce moguls–more than any other country on Earth. Some of these women saw their fortunes rise by more than half due to the rising stock market. Qiu Minxiu’s semiconductor company, Zhejiang Jingsheng Mechanical & Electrical saw a 79% increase in its stock price, bringing her fortune to $2.5 billion to $1.2 billion more than last year.

China also has 3 self-made female billionaires. Lu Yiwen is the cofounder of Darry Ring. The company went public in December and claims that customers can only buy one engagement ring per lifetime. Miranda Qu, the cofounder of the e-commerce website Xiaohongshu, is also new. Qu’s store has collaborated with major brands like L’Oreal. It has been described by many as an amalgamation of Amazon and Instagram.

The United States is second to China, home of 24 self-made female billionaires. Turkish immigrant Eren Ozmen saw her fortune increase by more than a million dollars after Sierra Nevada Corp., the aerospace company she and her husband founded, spun off its DreamChaser rocket plane and associated businesses to create Sierra Space. Sierra Space raised $4.5 billion in the capital. Kim Kardashian is now $800 million more this year, after Skims, her shapewear business, reached a valuation of $3.2 billion.

India’s richest woman is Falguni Nayar. She is worth $4.5 billion. This is due to her success with Nykaa, a beauty and fashion retailer. Other noteworthy newcomers include Rihanna, whose stake is in cosmetics company Fenty Beauty, which has made her Barbados’ first billionaire. She also co-founded the Canva app and became CEO of Melanie Perkins. South Korean Yoo Jung-Hyun cofounded and now owns 14% of the largest video game company in Korea, Nexon.

The self-made women include Alice Schwartz (95), who founded Bio-Rad Laboratories in 1952 with her late husband David. Perkins and Rihanna are both 34. While there is still much to be done to level the playing field, only 30% of billionaire females are self-made, compared to 76% of their male counterparts, and these pioneers are leading the way.

These are the 10 most self-made women around the globe. (Net worths as of March 11, 2022.)

1. Fan Hongwei

Net worth: $18.2 billion
The source of wealth: Petrochemicals
Country: China

Fan Hongwei, the 13th-wealthiest woman in the world, chairs Hengli Petrochemical, an oil refining and chemical fiber company in China. Fan’s fortune is unchanged versus a year ago.

2. Rafaela Aponte

Net worth: $16.8 billion*
The source of wealth: Shipping containers
Country: Switzerland

Rafaela and her husband, Gianluigi, founded the Mediterranean Shipping Company in 1970. It now has 600 vessels in 155 countries, making it the largest shipping line in the world. The couple’s fortune is up an estimated $6.1 billion this year as global supply chain issues boosted the profits of shipping container companies.

3. Wu Yajun

Net worth: $15.3 billion
The source of wealth: Real Estate
Country: China

A former journalist, Wu Yajun cofounded real estate developer Longfor Properties with her now ex-husband in 1993. The Hong Kong-listed company is well known for its 61 shopping centers in China. In 2018, she transferred a 44% stake to her daughter, Cai Xinyi.

4. Diane Hendricks

Net worth: $10.7 billion
The source of wealth: Construction
Country: United States

America’s richest self-made woman, Hendricks chairs ABC Supply, the largest distributor of roofing materials in the United States. Hendricks, who co-founded the business with her late husband in 1982, has grown the company from three locations to 811 and has driven annual revenue beyond $12 billion.

5. Judy Love

Net worth: $9.7 billion*
The source of wealth: Retail and gas
Country: United States

Another power couple, Judy and Tom Love founded Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores in 1964. Judy kept the books and still serves as executive secretary of the business, which has over 550 locations in 41 states and 32,000 employees.

6. Wang Laichun

Net worth: $9.5 billion
The source of wealth: Electronic components
Country: China

She is chairman and co-founder of Luxshare Precision Industry, a cable and connectors manufacturing company in China. One of her most notable customers: Apple– Luxshare supplies iPhone connector cables and manufactures AirPods. Wang started the business with her brother in 2004 and took it public on the Shenzen Stock Exchange in 2010.

7. Zhong Huijuan

Net worth: $8.1 billion
The source of wealth: Pharmaceuticals
Country: China

A former chemistry teacher, she founded Hong Kong-listed drug-maker Hansoh Pharmaceuticals in 2015. She chairs the company and owns more than three-quarters of its shares–which have slid 50% over the past year–with her daughter, Sun Yuan.

8. Lynda Resnick

Net worth: $8 billion*
The source of wealth: Water and agriculture
Country: United States

Resnick is vice-chair of the Wonderful Company, the group behind popular food products like Wonderful Pistachios, Pom Wonderful, mandarin Halos, and Fiji Water. She and her husband Stewart founded the business in the late 1970s. Resnick oversees marketing and product development; she won a Gold Effie Award for her Teleflora ad, “Flowers in a Gift.”

9. Zhou Qunfei

Net worth: $7.1 billion
The source of wealth: Screens on smartphones
Country: Hong Kong, China

The former factory worker is the founder and CEO of Lens Technology, which supplies smartphone screens to big-name brands like Samsung, LG, and Microsoft. In 2015, she was the richest self-made woman in the world after a successful IPO that quintupled the share price. But, Qunfei has lost more than half of her wealth in the past year as Lens Technology shares have plummeted 54% since March 2021 amid performance concerns from analysts due to poor net profit results.

10. Judy Faulkner

Net worth: $7 billion
The source of wealth: Health IT
Country: United States

Faulkner’s Epic Software is used by leading hospitals and other customers, which use it to record medical information on more than 225 million patients. She founded Epic in a basement in 1979.


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