Asia’s richest woman has lost more than half her fortune in the past year as China’s property sector has been rocked by a cash crunch.
- Yang Huiyan’s net worth plummeted over 52% to $16.1 billion in one year
- Ms Yang inherited her wealth when her father transferred his shares to her in 2005
- She became Asia’s richest woman two years later
Yang Huiyan, majority shareholder of Chinese real estate giant Country Garden, saw his net worth plunge more than 52% to $16.1 billion from $33.9 billion a year ago, according to Bloomberg. Billionaires Index.
Ms Yang’s fortunes took a hit on Wednesday when Hong Kong-listed shares of Guangdong-based Country Garden fell 15% after the company announced it would sell new shares to raise cash.
Ms Yang inherited her wealth when her father – Country Garden founder Yang Guoqiang – transferred her shares to her in 2005, according to state media.
She became Asia’s richest woman two years later after the developer went public in Hong Kong.
But she now barely holds that title, with chemical fiber tycoon Fan Hongwei a close runner-up with a net worth of $16 billion on Thursday.
Chinese authorities clamped down on excessive indebtedness in the real estate sector in 2020, leaving major players such as Evergrande and Sunac struggling to make payments and forcing them to renegotiate with their creditors as they teetered on the edge of the brink. bankruptcy.
Buyers across the country, enraged by construction backlogs and delayed deliveries of their properties, have begun withholding mortgage payments for homes sold before completion.
While Country Garden has remained relatively untouched by industry turmoil, it spooked investors by announcing on Wednesday that it plans to raise more than $490 million through a stock sale, in part to pay off debt. .
Proceeds from the sale would be used to “refinance existing offshore debt, general working capital and future development goals,” Country Garden said in a filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
China’s banking regulator has urged lenders to support the real estate sector and meet companies’ “reasonable financing needs” as analysts and policymakers fear financial contagion.
The real estate sector is estimated to account for 18-30% of the country’s GDP and is a key driver of growth in the world’s second largest economy.
Analysts have warned the industry is mired in a ‘vicious circle’ that will further weaken consumer confidence, following the release of dismal second-quarter growth figures that were the worst since the start of the Covid pandemic -19.