Asia’s once-richest woman has lost more wealth than any other billionaire in the world as her Chinese property development company falls deeper into a debt crisis.
(Bloomberg) — Asia’s once-richest woman has lost more wealth than any other billionaire in the world as her Chinese property development company falls deeper into a debt crisis.
Yang Huiyan, chair of Country Garden Holdings Co., has seen her fortune slump by 84% since its peak in June 2021, including a drop of 8.2% on Tuesday alone, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Country Garden missed coupon payments effectively due on Monday, putting the real estate developer on course for its first public default if it doesn’t make the payments within a 30-day grace period.
Read More: Country Garden Is in Danger of a Default Rivaling Evergrande
Yang’s fortune has shrunk by $28.6 billion from its peak, leaving her with a net worth of $5.5 billion. That’s the biggest dollar decline among the ultra-rich tracked by Bloomberg’s wealth index over that period.
The 41-year-old tycoon’s wealth is mainly derived from her stake in Country Garden, whose shares have dropped almost 60% this year as tumbling home sales and soaring refinancing costs hit China’s real estate industry. The Foshan-based business that trades publicly in Hong Kong had revenue of 430 billion yuan ($60 billion) in fiscal 2022.
Yang agreed last month to transfer more than half her personal stake, worth about $826 million, to a charity founded by her sister. She’ll retain the voting rights.
Yang’s father co-founded Country Garden in 1992 and transferred a controlling stake to her in 2005 after she joined the company as his personal assistant to learn the ropes and eventually succeed him.
She became China’s richest woman at age 25, after Country Garden raised $1.65 billion in a Hong Kong initial public offering in April 2007. In 2023, she took over as the sole chair after her father resigned, citing his age.
–With assistance from Jack Witzig.
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