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Yang makes it two in a row for China's rich women
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Mao Zedong once said that "women hold up half the sky", and it seems modern Chinese businesswomen are taking him at his word.

While the 2007 Forbes list of China's wealthiest 400 people is once again dominated by men, for the second year in a row, the No 1 spot is occupied by a woman.

With a personal fortune of $16 billion, 26-year-old Yang Huiyan succeeds 50-year-old Zhang Yin (ranked 11th in 2007), as the country's richest person.

However, unlike Zhang, a self-made billionaire who built her fortune recycling paper, Yang's vast wealth came in the form of an inheritance, from her successful real-estate developer father.

When Country Garden, the company he created, was floated in Hong Kong earlier this year, it raised US$1.7 billion from its initial public offering and became the largest property firm in the country, with a market value of about $15 billion.

China's property market is clearly booming, with six of the top 10 spots occupied by leading lights from the industry.

Forbes reporter Russell Flannery said: "The trend (of property developers dominating the list) may well continue, given the country's ongoing urbanization and its rapidly growing economy."

Traditionally, leading figures from the IT world have dominated the rich list, which Forbes has published annually since 1995.

Rich people's total wealth is also on the increase, Flannery said.

This year's top 400 have a combined personal fortune of US$288 billion, up 164 billion on 2006, and the country now boasts 66 billionaires (up from just 15 last year), Flannery said.

Thirteen of China's richest 100 people are women, according to this year's list.

While the public has traditionally questioned the source of many rich people's wealth, this year's figures are far more transparent, Flannery said.

More than half of the top 400 wealthy people are major shareholders in well-known, public listed companies, he said.

"Almost all their wealth has come from the equity market," he said.

China's stock market has continued to rocket throughout 2007, and is now worth almost three times what it was at the start of 2006.

As well as the real-estate industry, other sectors to have performed well this year include energy, and the finance and capital markets.

(China Daily November 2, 2007)

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