China has more self-made female billionaires than anywhere else in the world. Amy Chua, Yale Law School professor, profiled four female billionaires working in China.
coming up next on closing bell. march is women’s history month. here on cnbc we’re celebrating the milestones and the achievements women have made worldwide. today we’re looking at the rise of a new financial powerhouse, china’s billionaire women. amy wrote about this in the latest edition of news wooek. fantastic to have you with us today. what struck me is the statistic that china has more self-made female billionaires than any country in the world. why is this so? that’s what surprised me too. you think of china as such an authoritarian scary place. america is supposed to be the land of opportunity. but in fact china now has more self-made women billionaires. and the women that i interviewed, i don’t think they’re necessarily typical, but i think their secret for sure was finding a way to combine the sort of dynamism and creativity and innovation of the west with incredible hard work and endurance. i mean, two of these women had horrible — actually, they all had horrible childhoods. one was a factory worker. actually, all of her childhood. and another slept between a pig sty and a chicken coop. somehow managed to make it to the west. learned a lot here and brought it back home. i think you brought up a good point when you talk about their experience with the west. because all the people you interviewed, correct me if i’m wrong, did spend a portion of their early adulthood in the west. so i guess that really begs the question do you have to have the international experience to make it big in china these days? i think there are a couple routes to enormous success in china. one, sadly, is connections. shadier roots. those billionaires didn’t want to be interviewed by many. for obvious reasons. yeah. so people that want to tell their stories who are proud actually a very strong portion of them are very westernized. i don’t know if it’s a necessity, but i’ve noticed even, you know, robin lee, head of china’s google, same thing. a lot of east and western mixture. it’s an interesting combination. how much as well is due to the fact these are very strong women with very strong sense of their own self worth and the feeling they are equal because at least in theory under communism and certainly a lot of these women would have been born during the cultural revolution, men and women are equal, right? this really surprised me. they said communism, terrible in a million ways. one good thing it did is it really instilled the sense men and women are equal. women hold up half the sky. a second thing that stunned me is all four of these women thought it was actually easier to be a working woman in china than in the united states. and they have all these u.s. friends. and part of the reason is the social structure. a lot of these very hip modernized women still have their parents live with them and take care of their kids. so it’s a built-in domestic help situation. certainly the traditions live on strong in china. it’s a great article. thank you very much for sharing that information with us. amy, chua, you can catch it in the newsweek article. thanks, mandy.