Thursday, October 12, 2006

One way to increase personal wealth: List your company

Ms. Cheung Yan, founder and chairwoman of top Chinese paper packager Nine Dragons Paper (Holdings) Ltd.

A woman has topped a list of China's richest people for the first time, elbowing past two-time leader Huang Guangyu of GOME Electrical Appliances and a coterie of CEOs at old-economy government enterprises.

Cheung Yan's company listed shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in March, becoming one of scores of companies based on the mainland that have been enriched by international investors' fervor for Chinese assets. The company recently saw its share price surge after reporting that its fiscal 2006 net profit more than quadrupled to 1.375 billion yuan, or $174 million.

Newly minted billionaire Cheung Yan (Zhang Yan) -- the 49 year-old founder and chairwoman of top Chinese paper packager Nine Dragons Paper (Holdings) Ltd. -- saw her fortune balloon nine-fold to US$3.4 billion boosted by her firm's March initial public offering.

The entrepreneur, who controlled 72 percent of Nine Dragons as of August 31, has lapped up a 165 percent rally in the company's stock, according to an annual survey compiled by Rupert Hoogewerf, who pioneered a list for Forbes. She is the first businesswoman to top this annual list.

Cheung's stellar ascent is rare in a country whose largest corporations is state-owned or run by well-connected male executives.

Her personal wealth leapt from US$375 million last year, when she was logged as number 36 in the survey, surpassing appliances king Huang Guanyu's US$2.5 billion, according to the report.
Huang, chairman of GOME -- the country's top retailer of household electronics -- had topped the list in 2005 for the second consecutive year, with a fortune of US$1.7 billion.
The man who started his career with $500 and a Beijing roadside stall hawking radios and gadgets built GOME into a multi-billion dollar empire spanning nearly 100 cities across the country.
The number of Chinese billionaires on increased from 3 in 2003 to 7 in 2005 then climbed to 13 as of 2006.
On a personal note:
I am getting increasingly irritated by our local media’s tendency to cover feature stories of local men and husbands attraction to foreign women, namely China ladies. We read about it on the STOMP (Straits Times Online Mobile Print) website and the Sunday Times. We watch talkshows discussing this topic on television. Bloody beaten to death topic. Not only is it stale, it’s totally unenlightening. China has the world’s largest population. It will not be surprising if the number of intelligent, sophisticated, independent and well-to-do ladies far exceeds Singapore’s population. So, quit it! Enough of unsavoury peidu mamas, money grubbing China brides and husband snatching mistresses…

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