Most of the world’s female billionaires are heiresses and inherit their wealth, but not in Asia, says a UBS/PwC study
Asian women are leading the pack among newest entrants of the billionaire club, according to a joint study by UBS and PwC. The most incredible aspect of the study is the fact that unlike their western counterparts, women from Asian countries tend towards creating their own luck and most of them are self-made.
It has been reported that over 50 per cent of the self-made Asian billion-dollar women club come from an independent, well-educated and entrepreneurial background, as compared to just 19 per cent in the US and seven per cent in Europe.
The UBS and PwC Billionaire Report has claimed that number of women joining billionaire ranks has surged nearly seven-fold over the last two decades, the number standing at 145 at the moment, compared to only 22 in 1995. The billionaire club is still dominated by men – 1,202, but the number of male billionaires grew only by a factor of 5.2 in the past 20 years.
James Purcell, head of ultra-high net worth cross-asset strategy at UBS, had something to share about the Billionaire Report:
“Over 50 per cent of Asian female billionaires are self-made and over 95 per cent of them identify as wealth creators within the family, which means they are driving (wealth creation) going forward as well.”
The report was conducted by PwC on behalf of Swiss bank UBS. It comprised more than 19 years of data analysis covering more than 1,300 billionaires in economies that accounted for 75 per cent of the world’s billionaire wealth, including the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, China, Russia, Turkey, India, Japan and Singapore.
“We discovered that women inheriting business empires from their husbands or fathers are far more likely than their male counterparts to take the initiative, stepping into the patriarch’s shoes and often driving expansion to the next level,” according to the study covered on a CNBC report.
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“Furthermore, billionaire patriarchs and multi-generational families are now more frequently preparing their daughters to play significant roles in their businesses. Choosing the best successor irrespective of gender is to be seen as a strategic step to safeguard the family’s interests.”
Asia could perhaps be creating a new billionaire demographic altogether – fast growing economies, changing social attitudes and mind-sets seem to be the perfect ingredients for the mix. The research also concluded that the three prominent industry sectors where these women had made their wealth were property, industrials and health.
Just a decade ago, there were only three Asian women billionaires in the world. Now take this – that number has increased to 25 at the moment, and the most remarkable part is that more than half of them are not billionaire heiresses; they are self-made first-generation women entrepreneurs!
China has largest number of female billionaires in the world, and eight of the top 10 richest self-made women in the world are of Chinese origin. Sitting at first position with US$7.8 billion fortune is Zhou Qunfei, Founder of Lens Technology, the leading supplier of ultra-thin cover glass used in laptops, tablets and mobile devices in the world. Qunfei marginally beat another Chinese billionaire lady, Beijing’s real estate mogul Chen Lihua with US$7.7 billion combined wealth to become the most successful business woman across the globe.
Athena Factor – the science and logic are simple; and it’s what the guys at PwC/UBS call it. As the number of women entering billionaire ranks increase, their social status and influence as “wealth creators and champions of philanthropy” also get a leg up. Even though the number of female billionaires remain a minority as compared to men, the report suggests a bright scheme of things for the next generation female entrepreneurs.
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