Yang Huiyan, Asia’s richest woman, loses half her fortune
- Yang Huiyan, 41, is a majority shareholder in Country Garden
- Huiyan’s net worth has plunged from 23.7 million to 11.3 million
- China’s property sector is going through a difficult phase
Yang Huiyan, Asia’s richest woman, has lost nearly half her fortune on account of China’s burgeoning real estate crisis. Huiyan, 41, saw her fortunes take a major hit Wednesday as her company, Country Garden, saw its shares fall by 15% in the Hong Kong stock index after it announced it would sell new shares in a bid to raise cash. Huiyan’s net worth plunged by 52% from 23.7 million in 2021 to 11.3 million, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Huiyan inherited Country Garden from her father and company founder Yang Guoqiang in 2005, Chinese state media reports. Two years later, she became Asia’s richest woman after Country Garden shares made an initial public offering in the Hong Kong stock market. Huiyan is, however, struggling to stay Asia’s richest woman with Fang Hongwei, with a net worth of $11.2 billion, breathing down her neck.
Huiyan’s near-fall from grace happened after China’s Communist Party cracked down on real estate companies with big debts. Evergrande and Sunac were left struggling to make payments and forcing them to renegotiate with creditors as they were on the verge of bankruptcy. China’s property buyers have seen companies delay delivery of properties and consumers have begun to withhold mortgage payments for under-construction homes before completion.
Country Garden has remained unperturbed by the turmoil in the real estate industry. However, its decision to sell some of its shares to raise cash $343 million spooked the market.
Proceeds from the share sale would go into “refinancing existing offshore indebtedness, general working capital and future development purposes,” according to a Country Garden filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange.
China’s banking regulator has called upon consumers to protect to property sector and meet “reasonable financing needs”. China’s property sector makes up for 18-30% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and is a key driver of growth in the world’s second-largest economy.