In the spotlight: Women entrepreneurs from People’s Republic of China
If the question comes up – how is business in China, the answer is – China has the biggest e-commerce market in the world; and analysts at GlobalData predict that by 2024, the Chinese e-commerce market will be worth CNY19.6 trillion. While large parts of the global economy suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic, China’s economy recovered quickly.
Prominently, the state’s plan was to encourage women to start business and become re-employed. And, it proposed some tactics to achieve this ambition: by improving the employment structure for women, safeguarding the rights and interests of rural women
working in cities and enhancing social security for women in urban areas.
So, have the steps taken by the Chinese state expanded the role of Chinese women in business? With a background of traditionally controlling family finances, this angle is reflected in the role women play in business too. Women are excelling in the business scene. China already has a higher proportion of female workers in its economy. And, Chinese women have set up more online companies than Chinese men, and they make up 64% of the world’s self-made businesswomen. All this points to the fact that – China is truly one of the best places in the world to be an entrepreneur, specially for a woman.
China’s historic economic growth in the last 20 years has had a positive impact on women entrepreneurship levels, with 25.6 percent of all businesses in China owned by women.
Here are some prominent women entrepreneurs from the People’s Republic of China.
> Zhong Huijuan, Founder, Hansoh Pharmaceutical Group
Zhong is the founder and chairperson of Hansoh Pharmaceutical Group, a maker of psychotropic drugs. The company produces medicines – to treat conditions including diabetes, infections, tumors and diseases of the nervous system. It had clocked a revenue of 9.9 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) in 2021.
After obtaining an undergraduate degree in chemistry from Jiangsu Normal University in Xuzhou when she was 21 years old, she became a chemistry teacher in a middle school in Lianyungang, Chin. Her husband, Sun Piaoyang, worked at a government-run pharmaceutical factory in Lianyungang at that time (which later became Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine).
But, she quit her teaching job in 1995 and started her own medicine business – Jiangsu Hansoh Pharmaceutical. In 1997, the company started growing and soon touched a sales figure of 30 million yuan ($4.5 million) in the same year. Then in 2021, the business reported a revenue of 9.9 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) in 2021. Its main therapeutic areas are – diseases of the central nervous system, oncology, anti- infectives, diabetes, as well as gastrointestinal and cardiovascular treatments.
> Lucy Liu, Co-founder of Airwallex
Lucy Liu is the Co-founder of Airwallex which is a cross–border payments company. Fortunately, she has already led her startup to the revered billion dollar ‘unicorn’ status. Founded in 2015, Airwallex provides technology to facilitate international transactions in foreign exchange markets.
Significantly, they had successfully closed a US$100 million Series C round in early 2019. Awards have come her way too – for she was also made Fintech Australia Female Leader of the Year and EY Australian Entrepreneur of the Year in 2018.
> Zang Mo, Founder & CEO, Yi+
Zhang Mo is the Founder and CEO of Yi+, which builds visual engines for artificial intelligence systems. Yi+ broke the world record for accuracy in winning the Pascal VOC comp4 object detection challenge in 2019, and became the world’s first computer vision software to exceed 90 percent accuracy.
This startup has worked with high profile clients including Huawei, Weibo, Qihoo 360, JD.com and Qupai. Incidentally, the company’s sub-brand, Clothing+, works as a visual search engine for fashion products.
> Chen Anni, Founder & CEO, Kuaikan Comic
Chen Anni is the founder and CEO of China’s most popular comic platform – Kuaikan Comic.
In 2014, Anni Chen took Chinese internet by storm with her anime series “The 1% Life,” which depicted the aspirations and struggles of young urban Chinese. It raised Kuaikan’s profile significantly, leading the firm to raise US$177 million in Series D funding in 2017, which set a new financing record for China’s nascent comic industry. In 2019, its total number of users was a reported 170 million, with monthly users at over 40 million.
> Kathy Gong, Co-founder, WafaGames
Blazing the trail for female gamers is Kathy Gong, Co–founder of gaming startup WafaGames, which is famed for its creation of well-rounded, realistic female characters. She is also the founder of ai.Law – a robotics startup that makes law accessible and affordable, which has now served three million people (67 percent of them are women). Interestingly, she was a child prodigy, who went on to become China’s youngest national chess champion at age 10. She has forged ahead to establish the nonprofit ‘World’s Youngest Voices’ – to sponsor outstanding young students.
> Daisy Guo, Founder, Tezign
Daisy Guo, Founder of Tezign, plays a key role in Asia’s rising freelance economy. The startup has served more than 8,000 businesses, including – Unilever and Special Olympics International. Tezign recently completed a Series B funding round, and is using the funds to develop its power in AI.