Since 2009, China Entrepreneur Magazine has been releasing its annual “Top 30 Influential Chinese Businesswomen” list, celebrating the successes of women in business from a variety of fields such as smart manufacturing, biomedical, internet and retail. Of the 30 businesswomen on this year’s list, Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB) is proud to announce that eight CKGSB alumnae have been named.
One of CKGSB’s missions is to empower and inspire students, alumni and the greater community by advocating and actively driving for gender equality and the empowerment of women, so that they can further promote social change through their work.
Let’s take a closer look at and celebrate the eight women who have made this year’s list, their vision, unique stories to success and the challenges they have had to overcome as successful and influential businesswomen.
Founder and President of Huace Film & TV Co., Ltd.
Alumna of CKGSB CEO Program
Zhao Yifang left her job in the government sector 21 years ago to start her own company, Huace Film & TV Co., Ltd. Now listed as a billionaire, she has led her company to become China’s second film and television company listed on the A-share market. Facing the immediate challenge brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak to the film and television industry, Yifang recognized the need to adapt to the shifting business conditions and needs. As such, she optimized the management of her company by repositioning its content development through a new derivative business to tailor to the new market demands.
Cindy Mi is a pioneer in online education. Six years after she founded her original company VIPKID, an online English education company. She has now incubated Dami Wangxiao (Dami Online School), an online education platform providing users with a wider range of primary and middle school courses. The company has just completed its A-round financing, led by Tencent. The outbreak of COVID-19 not only dramatically increased the demand for online education but also brought about inherent challenges. In terms of business mindset, Cindy adopts a decisive stance when dealing with emergencies and believes it is important to be patient when pursuing long-term goals. She often says that running an education company is like running a marathon, you must do it with the right pace, be persistent and patient, whatever the external environment is.
Zhang Hongmei has had many roles and endeavors before starting EasyPnP, a traditional printing company focusing on the bulk procurement business of companies. Having just completed its C-round funding, Zhang has certainly come a long way. Prior to founding EasyPnP, Hongmei has been a café owner, a teacher and a founder of an investment banking company. She describes each career gave her the experience which have led to her success today.
Founder and CEO of Mia
Alumna of CKGSB Chuang Community
A Peking University graduate and a mother, Liu Nan founded an e-commerce company specializing in maternal and infant products when she was looking for a way to source safe products for her baby. Under her leadership, her company has successfully completed five rounds of funding in 35 months, raising a total of RMB 2 billion. As a result, Mia is now a unicorn and dominant leader in its industry. Liu Nan now sees new opportunities and growth potentials in the healthcare industry. She believes that “the last one standing is not the strongest but the most adaptable.”
Founder of Xiaohongshu
Alumna of CKGSB Chuang Community
Qu Fang originally started the Xiaohongshu platform in 2013 for people to share overseas shopping tips. Ever since, the company has been transforming and evolving its model to adapt to consumer trends and needs. Now, its monthly active users exceed 100 million. With her experiences in founding Xiaohongshu, Qu Fang feels that she is now calmer when faced with challenges and tends to look at the future with a medium-to-long-term perspective. Her goal is to build Xiaohongshu into a diversified virtual community.
President of Joyoung
Alumna of CKGSB Executive Education Program
From a financial manager of more than 20 years to the current president of Joyoung, Yang Ningning has witnessed the birth and growth of a household appliance company. From the very beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, Yang Ningning predicted that cooking at home would become a new way of life, and led the company to embrace innovation, and digitalization. By way of selling products via live-streaming and expanding sales channels online, Joyoung achieved significant sales volume growth in many of its products. Joyoung invested heavily in the R&D of products to meet young people’s needs. This vision guaranteed double-digit growth year after year for the company and successfully shifted Joyoung to a younger and fresher brand.
Chairwoman of Bluesail Medical Co. Ltd.
Alumna of CKGSB EMBA Program
Over the past 18 years, Liu Wenjing has led Bluesail Medical Co. Ltd. to grow from a small start-up to a listed company, and become a leader in the healthcare equipment industry. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in China, she has led Bluesail Medical Co. Ltd to provide medical materials and devices to fight the epidemic. With a strong sense of social responsibility, Wenjing also prioritized sufficient medical supplies were being made available globally to countries hit hardest.
Founder and Chairwoman of Life Infinity
Alumna of CKGSB CEO Program
Chen Li founded Life Infinity, a high-end anti-aging and cancer-prevention company with a commitment to improving the quality of life to its clients. Her professional background as a doctor, teamed with her overseas management experience has made her a unique entrepreneur and leader in the medical field. Her vision is to help users live a healthier life.
Focusing on empowering women, the Women in Leadership Forum has become an annual flagship event jointly held since 2013 by the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB) and United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN WOMEN).
As a platform for empowering female leaders, promoting gender equality in the workplace, celebrating success stories, and offering opportunities to create positive change, the Women in Leadership Forum offers unique insights from distinguished leaders like Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook’s COO), Barbara Woodward (British Ambassador to China), Jan Adams (Australian Ambassador to China), Jean Liu (President of Didi Chuxing Technology Co), Li Na (Former Professional Tennis Player), Xiaoping Yang (Chairman and President, BP China) among many others.
Due to COVID-19, this year we will continue to host the Women in Leadership Forum in the format of webinars. Stay tuned for more details. We look forward to empowering women leaders around the world.