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Forbes honours 25 female leaders in its Asia’s Power Businesswomen list

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PETALING JAYA: Forbes unveiled its 2020 Asia’s Power Businesswomen list, which spotlights 25 outstanding female leaders in the Asia-Pacific region in its September issue of Forbes Asia.

The editor of the list, Rana Wehbe Watson commented that as the world grapples with the uncertainty brought by the pandemic, it is important for the magazine to highlight these businesswomen who are rising to the occasion and excelling during these challenging times.

“Their track record of success and resilient leadership set inspiring examples for others to follow,” she said in a press release.

In this year’s list is HCL Technologies’ Roshni Nadar Malhotra, the first woman to chair a listed tech firm in India and one of a handful of female chairpersons in the male-dominated global tech industry.

In her previous position as vice chairperson, she backed HCL’s US$1.8 billion purchase from IBM of a portfolio of its products, the largest acquisition in the company’s 29-year history.

She is also featured on the cover of the September issue of Forbes Asia.

Within China’s booming pharmaceutical market, Samantha Du is a force to be reckoned with — and her success is unrelated to Covid-19 demand.

The 56-year-old entrepreneur leads Shanghai-based pharma company Zai Lab, whose $6 billion market capitalization has increased threefold since its IPO valuation on Nasdaq in 2017.

Du founded the company in 2014 and got ahead of the competition by adopting a licensing model, acquiring the rights — often exclusive — to sell foreign firms’ drugs in China.

The youngest to make this year’s list is 29-year-old Lucy Yueting Liu, an alum of the 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list.

Liu and her three co-founders started Airwallex in 2015 to help customers conduct multi-currency cross border transactions more cheaply than banks.

The company, valued at nearly $1.9 billion, is headquartered in Hong Kong and has clients ranging from China’s JD.com to Australian startup Cosmetics Now.

Outside the corporate sphere, the list included the fifth president of Singapore Management University (SMU) and the first woman to lead one of Singapore’s top universities, Lily Kong.

She took the helm of SMU in January 2019 and has continued to expand its entrepreneurship capacity for students.

Forbes’ list also included one of the few women worldwide to run a gaming company, Jang In-A.

She joined Smilegate Entertainment in 2007 as a game developer and rose through the ranks to become CEO in 2015.

Jang now heads one of South Korea’s largest gaming companies by sales, with $451 million in revenue last year and about 600 game developers.

Caroline Russell is the third generation to lead Malaysia’s largest tea producer by output, BOH Plantations, founded by her grandfather in 1929.

The family-owned business has four plantations spread over 1,200 hectares that annually produce about 4.5 million kilograms of tea — about 70% of Malaysia’s tea output.

Taking the helm as CEO in 2003, Russell has expanded BOH’s range of teas and international sales and was named executive chairman after her father retired last year.