Thursday, Mar. 29, 2012

Chan Laiwa

Age: 71
Occupation: Chairwoman, Fu Wah International Group

A female self-made billionaire (how rare is that?), Chan is bringing bling to China. Through Fu Wah, her real-estate-development company (which she fashioned out of a Hong Kong furniture-repair business), she has introduced everything from Ferrari dealerships to luxurious private clubs to a Chinese elite infatuated with its newfound wealth — and is helping shape the tastes of a generation of well-heeled consumers. Oh, and she's also an aristocratic Manchu, the ethnic group that led China's last imperial dynasty, the Qing, before the Communist Revolution.