🎁 'Tis the season to support public service journalism Donate Now

Woman tops China’s rich list

Jocelyn Ford Oct 11, 2006


SCOTT JAGOW: Who thought we’d be saying this: The wealthiest self-made woman in the world is from China. A list of the richest Chinese just came out and 49-year-old Zhang Yin is at the top. She’s worth $3.4 billion and as Jocelyn Ford reports, her story is literally rags to riches.

JOCELYN FORD: Zhang Yin made her fortune by importing scrap paper in the United States, and shipping it back in what would’ve been empty containers.

The paper is then recycled into packaging material.

Rupert Hoogewerf produces rich list.

RUPERT HOOGEWERF: “Well, she’s a lot richer than Oprah, I mean she’s two or three times the size of Oprah. Or even J.K. Rowling of the Harry Potter fame.”

Hoogewerf says this year there are 15 billionaires on his list, more than double the number of last year. Five of the top 10 made their money in real estate or construction.

RUPERT:“China today is a little bit like the robber baron period in the U.S. in the 19th century.”

He says the economy is wide open. And entrepreneurs who are cunning, quick, and ruthless, can make a fortune.

In Beijing, I’m Jocelyn Ford for Marketplace.

There’s a lot happening in the world.  Through it all, Marketplace is here for you. 

You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible. 

Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.