We all know that Mao loved to say that “Women Hold Up Half the Sky” when referring to China’s female population. And a few weeks ago, this seemed to be very much the case, as we reported that half of the world’s self-made lady billionaires struck their fortunes here in the mainland (which is 7 out of the 14 femmes that form the billionair-ress club).
So what is it about the current Chinese market that makes it a particularly fertile spot for women entrepreneurs to strike it rich?
Linda Xinrong Kausch, a Shenzhen-based writer who is currently writing a book about how 12 Western businesswomen achieved success in China, tells Forbes.com that business success rate is due to the highly fluctuating market regulations, stating, “[A] factor is the constantly changing market regulations of a developing economy, which afford more flexibility and less red tape than a place like Europe.”
The article goes on to say:
While some major sectors–such as banking, steel, telecommunications and electricity generation–are still essentially state-owned, a sizable chunk of new wealth being created comes from entrepreneurs working hard in a variety of fields such as real estate, retail and consumer goods.
Okay, but we’ve been inundated over the last few years with information about China as one of the world’s fastest growing economies and potential for most competitive business market. But, since the majority of the 7 ladies on that list are actual Chinese citizens, what specifically sets a Chinese businesswoman apart from the rest of the money-makers? How does she fair in a market largely dominated by men and most always biased towards the businessman?
A study conducted on Chinese female entrepreneurs revealed some of the specifics behind China’s successful businesswomen. According to the women surveyed, most of the entrepreneurs are highly educated, either at domestic universities or abroad. Their business acumen and managerial skills are acquired by holding high posts at large state-owned enterprises or successful private sectors. These connections help raise valuable capital (over 50 % attributed their business difficulties to lack of capital).
In terms of limitations, one-third of businesswomen in the survey regarded a shortage of professional knowledge as their greatest limitation with 13 percent believing it to be administrative skills. Eight percent identified the fact that they were discriminated against while only 3 percent said they lacked confidence in certain areas of their business lives.
But, the most interesting finding within the survey? 80% of the women state that the motivational factor fuelling their personal entrepreneurial spirit is “self-realization.”
“The motivational factor for entrepreneurial start-up is shown to favor self-realization at 80 percent, with nearly 10 percent of respondents attributing other factors such as preparation for the next generation, development of family wealth and desire for cooperation with family members.”
In a country where the gender imbalance of men to women stands at 107 males for every 100 females, and women are outnumbered drastically in the political arena (only 10% of the CCP’s 371-member Central Committee are women), it is greatly inspiring to see that women entrepreneurs still place great value on their own potential and capabilities within the male dominated business sector.
Lastly, it seems that personal growth trumps the more superficial goal of getting rich. Only 0.4.% of the women stated that simply increasing their fortune was the motivation behind their drive for success. And with the new wave of superficiality and materialism thought to be taking over China’s rising masses – this is a trait we like to see.