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China's richest woman loses 66% of her fortune, courtesy trade-war

Shiladitya Ray


China

22 Oct 2018: China's richest woman loses 66% of her fortune, courtesy trade-war

Zhou Qunfei, founder and CEO of consumer electronics suppliers Lens Technology, had become China's richest woman by supplying touchscreens for Apple and Tesla devices.

Now, however, owing to the escalating trade war between China and the US, Qunfei has lost a whopping 66% of her fortune, making her one of the biggest losers among Chinese billionaires in 2018.

Here are the details.

Fact: Qunfei started her first company at 22 years of age

Zhou Qunfei was born in Xiangxiang, in China's Hunan province in 1970. At the age of 22, Zhou quit her job to start her first company, which made glass watch faces. In 2001, she started making mobile phone screens, and in 2003, founded Lens Technology.

Details: Qunfei lost $6.6bn this year; Lens Technology shares slumped too

Based on data from the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Qunfei's fortunes dropped by 66% or roughly $6.6bn this year, marking the biggest percentage drop in wealth among China's wealthy.

Meanwhile, Qunfei's company, Lens Technology, saw its shares slump by as much as 62% this year, on the back of US President Donald Trump's threat of a trade war and consequent business developments.

Fact: Qunfei was named the world's richest self-made woman this year

As of March 2018, Qunfei was worth $9.8bn and was named the world's richest self-made woman. Women who ranked higher than Qunfei in the Forbes list had all either inherited wealth or had married into wealthy families.

Trump: Trump's threats had disastrous consequences for Chinese suppliers

Trump's threat to impose tariffs on an additional $267bn worth of Chinese goods, over and above the duties he's considering slapping on $200bn worth of imports, led to disastrous consequences for many Chinese electronics suppliers.

Several suppliers for Apple, including Lens Technology, was badly hit by the threat, and saw their shares slump.

Meanwhile, rising nationalism in China is also expected to worsen US-China trade ties further.

Tesla: Following Apple, Lens Technology fell out with Tesla too

Having lost one of its biggest clients, Apple, Lens Technology's luck worsened further.

Following Elon Musk's controversial tweet about taking Tesla private, and the subsequent ousting of the South Africa-born entrepreneur as chairman, Lens Technology, along with several Asian suppliers, fell out with the electric carmaker.

Tesla was an important client for Lens Technology, which used to laminate display panels for the carmaker.

Chinese wealth: Chinese billionaires have lost $86bn so far this year

Yet, it wasn't just Qunfei who lost a lot owing the prospect of a full-blown trade war.

An Oxford Economics report, released on Friday, revealed that Chinese stocks had been the worst hit by the uncertain trade situation resulting out of Trump's threats of a trade war.

Understandably, the wealth rout hit Chinese billionaires hard, who have collectively lost $86bn so far this year.