Recycling tycoon is first woman to top list of China’s richest people

Zhang Yin, the 49-year-old founder of Nine Dragons Paper, which buys scrap paper from the United States for use in China, shot from 36th to pole position in the annual China Rich List compiled by Hurun Report, the luxury publishing and events group, making her the first woman ever to top the Rich List.

"She is the wealthiest self-made woman in the world," said Rupert Hoogewerf, a researcher who has been compiling the rich list for seven years. Her fortune trumps that of US chat show queen Oprah Winfrey and the Harry Potter creator J K Rowling.

Her wealth was estimated at £202m last year, but the share price of Nine Dragons has tripled since she listed her company on the Hong Kong stock exchange and the market for recycled products is growing at a furious pace.

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