When it comes to being your own boss, Zhou Qunfei redefines the definition. The Chinese billionaire went from a factory worker to the head honcho behind one of China’s most lucrative businesses. Qunfei, who is the owner of Lens Technology, is now one of the leading suppliers of the so-called cover glass used in laptops, tablets and mobile devices, including the Apple iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy.
According to the New York Times–
Ms. Zhou, 44, has come to define a new class of female entrepreneurs in China who have built their wealth from scratch — a rarity in the world of business. In Japan, there is not a single self-made female billionaire, according to Forbes. In the United States and Europe, most women who are billionaires secured their wealth through inheritance.
Ms. Zhou’s stake in Lens Technology, which went public this year, is worth $7.2 billion. That puts her fortune on par with the media tycoon John C. Malone and Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay.
An elegant woman with a cherubic face, owlish glasses and a preference for Christian Dior suits, Ms. Zhou is fastidious and demanding — “sit up straight!” she commands of a general manager during a meeting. Yet she exudes charm and humility, a quiet recognition that things could have easily turned out differently.
“In the village where I grew up, a lot of girls didn’t have a choice of whether to go to middle school. They would get engaged or married and spend their entire life in that village,” she said in an interview at her office where there was a wooden statue of Mao and a 27-inch desktop Mac. “I chose to be in business, and I don’t regret it.”