Jacqueline Shek (pictured), Executive Director at ZEDRA, explores the rise of female Chinese billionaires.
Beijing is now home to more billionaires than any other city in the world, according to the latest Forbes’ annual rich list. Chinese businesses are growing at an accelerated rate, and some exciting trends are emerging in the region – one being the rise in female billionaires.
The Forbes’ 2020 World’s Billionaires List highlights the growing number of women following in the footsteps of Zhong Huijuan (the world’s richest self-made woman), representing a generational shift and shining a light on China’s new class of super-wealthy female entrepreneurs. 67 of the 234 women on the Forbes’ list of 2,095 billionaires are considered self-made. Almost half of those hail from China and Hong Kong.
China: where women’s influence is welcomed
Women’s wealth tends to be much more varied than the traditional tech connections of self-made men. Women’s wealth spans industries including pharma, venture capital, tech, food, manufacturing and retail. China is proving to be a truly fantastic place to be a businesswoman in a broad range of sectors. Chinese women are wielding significant power and influence in business, and their ambitious, entrepreneurial spirit is widely welcomed.
Holistic advice has become a necessity
Estate planning for wealthy women in China is changing rapidly. The individual income tax regime in China was recently reformed and with growing wealth comes growing scrutiny by tax authorities on the tax position of UHNWIs. Immigration and residency planning often comes into play with globally minded entrepreneurs. China has a joint matrimonial property regime so estate planning for women also needs to take into account their marital status. We are seeing an increasing demand for multi-faceted services that extends beyond services associated with private wealth to often complex corporate structuring and other areas of active wealth.
Active wealth requires active advisors
On average, Chinese female billionaires are a decade younger than their equivalents elsewhere, and they are still actively running a business, especially as the opportunities in China are seemingly endless.
Today’s (U)HNWI women in Asia are looking for service providers that understand that their wealth is being deployed and earnt actively, rather than simply seeing it as a fixed sum that’s been inherited, and which needs to be preserved and passed on. Women’s wealth in China comes in the form of wildly successful businesses – it’s living and breathing. This means there are global considerations to make, and expansions to explore – these business owners and families need more. They need corporate structures, family offices, funds, capital market solutions, private trust company solutions and so on. They also need structures like trusts or foundations.
Flexibility and scalability are vital
Wealth planning typically distinguishes between investable financial assets and business or operating assets, but our team understands that one often comes with the other. A female business owner doesn’t only need corporate solutions, nor do they only need solutions focused on bankable financial assets: they need to be able to pick and choose from both, depending on their specific situation. We are excited to be helping more Chinese self-made female billionaires, and we are proud to offer services that span their unique requirements.