Property Drives Wealth of China’s Richest Women

Zhang Xin, chief executive officer of Soho China
Jerome Favre | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Zhang Xin, chief executive officer of Soho China

Real estate in China is the main source of wealth for China's wealthiest women, a sign that the sector remains one with huge growth potential even as it contends with cooling measures, shows a survey by research firm Wealth-X released Wednesday.

Total wealth attributed to real estate accounts for more than 60 percent of the combined net worth of the 15 wealthiest women in China, which is more than $30 billion, according to the Wealth-X rich list.

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Huiyan Yang, vice chairman of real estate developer Country Garden, tops the list with a net worth of $6.3 billion, according to Wealth-X, a research firm that tracks the ultra-wealthy.

She's followed by Yajun Wu, founder of property firm Longfor Group with a net worth of $4.1 billion and Xin Zhang, co-founder of Hong-Kong listed Soho China, Beijing's largest property developer, with a net worth of $3.4 billion.

"Wealth creation in China is inextricably linked to real estate. Our list also reflects the reality of China's real estate market; that increased investment is not only observable in residential and commercial properties, but also luxury hotels and clubhouses," Wealth-X CEO Mykolas Rambus said in a statement. "Indeed, some of China's wealthiest women are transforming the country's real estate market," he added.

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Official data show property prices in China, the world's second largest economy, continue to rise despite measures taken by Beijing to cool a booming housing market. Data released at the weekend, for instance, showed average new home prices rose 4.9 percent in April from a year ago, up from 3.6 percent in March.

China unveiled fresh property-cooling measures in March including stricter enforcement of a 20 percent capital gains tax on home sale profits.

According to Wealth-X, 80 percent of the women were self-made businesswomen - just three out of 15 women on its list derived their wealth from inheritance.

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"Female entrepreneurs in China have played an integral role in the country's growth story," Rambus said. "In the cut-throat world of business, these women have outperformed many of their male counterparts to join the ranks of China's wealthiest individuals."

- By CNBC.Com's Dhara Ranasinghe, Follow her on Twitter: @DharaCNBC