Female billionaires increase sevenfold in 20 years

Numbers grew from just 22 in 1995 up to 145 in 2014

Zlata Rodionova
Tuesday 15 December 2015 15:03
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Zhou Qunfei,  a former factory worker who founded Lens Technology, a company supplying Apple, Samsung and other technological giants with touchscreen glass has become China's richest woma in April 2015 , with a fortune surpassing $8 billion
Zhou Qunfei, a former factory worker who founded Lens Technology, a company supplying Apple, Samsung and other technological giants with touchscreen glass has become China's richest woma in April 2015 , with a fortune surpassing $8 billion

There are seven times more female billionaires in the world as there were 20 years ago, according to a billionaire survey by UBS.

The number of women billionaires has grown faster than men, UBS found, with the number of Asian females showing the greatest growth in the last 10 years.

Men still dominate the rankings, but there are now nearly seven times more women listed than 20 years ago, from just 22 in 1995 up to 145 in 2014.

The number of male billionaires has grown by the smaller factor of 5.2, UBS found.

Asia is home to the greatest growth in number of self-made female billionaires. There were 25 female Asian billionaires in 2014, representing one fifth of the global female billionaire population.

“Although female billionaires remain a minority, the growing opportunities for women to accumulate wealth suggests female entrepreneurs will drive significant growth in the number of billionaire women,” the report said.

Over the last two decades, global GDP has almost tripled from $30 trillion to over $77 trillion. But the wealth of billionaires in the study has increased almost eightfold, from $0.7 trillion in 1995 to $5.4 trillion in 2014.

It may not be a case of “once a billionaire, always a billionaire”, however. Only 126 of the 289 billionaires on the list in 1995 are still on it today.

Of the class of 1995, 66 have died, 24 fortunes have been lost through family dilution and a further 73 have disappeared due to business problems and other reasons.

“With the increased complexity of regulations and taxes and two-thirds of billionaires over age 60, sustaining legacies may be the most difficult and immediate challenge for today’s billionaires,” the report said.

UBS, which offers wealth-management services, tallied 1,347 billionaires from around the world in the study but declined to name any of them.

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