The 26-year-old Yang Huiyan, daughter of a property developer, has topped this year's Forbes list of the richest people in China with a net worth of 16 billion U.S. dollars.
Yang also becomes the richest woman in Asia, the magazine said in a statement on Monday.
Yang is one of the three daughters of Yang Guoqiang, a co-founder of the Country Garden Holdings Company Limited, and she acquired her father's shareholding of the Guangdong-based property development firm in 2005.
The debut of the company at the Hong Kong stock market this year has made billionaires of Yang and four others, said the magazine.
Another developer Hui Wing Mau took the second place of China's top rich with a net worth of 7.3 billion U.S. dollars and Guo Guangchang, chairman of a manufacturing, retailing and real estate company ranked the third. Last year's No 1, Wong Kwong Yu, fell nine places to No 10 even though his wealth increased by 56 per cent to 3.6 billion dollars from 2.3 billion a year ago. In addition, last year's richest women, Zhang Yin, founder of Nine Dragon Paper Co., fell from No. 5 to No. 11 on this year's list. Her net worth grew by 125 percent to 3.4 billion U.S. dollars.
Compared with only 15 billionaires in last year's 40 top rich, all the 40 people on the Forbes Asia's 2007 China Rich List are billionaires.
The 40 rich people have a combined net worth of 120 billion U. S. dollars, up three times from last year's USD 38 billion, said a Forbes press release.
Yang is one of more than a dozen property developers to make this year's list of the 40 richest, reflecting roaring demand for homes and real estate investment, according to the magazine.
"Household incomes are rising rapidly, and a growing number of people are moving into cities from rural areas," said Russell Flannery, compiler of the China Rich List. " Those trends are creating great business opportunity for property developers in the country."
To compile this list, Forbes Asia looked at shareholdings in public companies as well as private companies. Publicly traded fortunes were calculated using recent share prices and exchange rates.
For private fortunes, Forbes estimated what companies and assets would be worth if public. Unlike the Forbes billionaires list, this ranking has been broadened to include some family fortunes, the release said.
(Xinhua News Agency October 9, 2007)