Self-made women are trailblazing through the ranks of the World’s Billionaires. Forbes’ 2017 list, released Monday, includes more self-made women billionaires than any year before in the list’s 30-year history. There’s now a record 56 women who made their own 10-digit fortunes, and 15 of these entrepreneurs did so in the past year. But that’s not the only way self-made women billionaires are breaking records this year.
But where do all these self-made women billionaires come from? While the U.S. has the most billionaires overall, the most women entrepreneurs with a 10-digit fortune come from Asia, where there’s 29 in all. The U.S. comes in second with 17 self-made women billionaires. About 67% of all self-made women billionaires in the world come from Asia or America.
Asia is continuing to prove it’s the most hospitable region for female entrepreneurs. Of the 15 newcomers this year, 13 come from China, Hong Kong, Vietnam or Japan. For the second year in a row, the richest self-made women in the world is Hong Kong based Zhou Qunfei. Her publicly traded Lens Technology, headquartered in China, makes glass covers for mobile phones and tablets for customers like Apple and Samsung. Since 2010, there’s only been one year where the world’s richest self-made woman isn’t from Asia.
Here’s one other new record: Self-made women make up more of the billionaires list than the group ever has before: 2.7%, compared with 2.3% last year. While self-made women still make up just a small slice of all the billionaires in the world, consider that self-made women are a fast-growing group. Just five years ago self-made women accounted for 1.8% of the list, which is about 50% less.
Forbes 30th ranking of the World’s Billionaires includes more than 2,000 names who are worth a combined $7.67 trillion. There’s never been more and the group has never had so much wealth before. But self-made women billionaires are joining the three-comma club quicker. The group has increased 170% since 2009, compared with the number of billionaires overall increasing 157% since then.
It’s not just the numbers of self-made women that have surged. The amount of wealth self-made women have created is also a record 1.68% of the total billionaires list, up from 1.49% last year.
Another record: Self-made women billionaires have a combined net worth of $129 billion, up from $96.9 billion last year. And 2017 marks the first year since Forbes has been tracking the fortunes of the super rich that self-made women billionaires own more than $100 billion in assets.
While the percentage points are small when looking at the wealth of self-made women compared with all billionaires, consider that self-made women are growing as a percentage of all women billionaires far quicker. Self-made women have a combined net worth that is 16% of the wealth of all female billionaires. That percentage, a record high, has doubled in the past five years alone.
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