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China's richest woman went from the factory floor to a billion-dollar fortune

Zhou Qunfei made her money selling tech companies touchscreen glass.

Lens Technology founder Zhou Qunfei
Lens Technology founder Zhou Qunfei

A FORMER FACTORY worker who founded a company supplying Apple, Samsung and other technological giants with touchscreen glass has become China’s richest woman, reports said, with a fortune surpassing $8 billion.

The wealth of Zhou Qunfei, chairwoman and president of Hunan-based Lens Technology, soared after the firm’s debut on the Shenzhen stock exchange last month, after which its shares surged by their daily limit for 10 consecutive days.

She claimed the title yesterday, Forbes reported. Zhou worked as a factory girl at a different glass company before starting her own business in 2003.

Now 45, she owns an 89% stake in the firm, which had more than 80,000 employees and revenue of $3.3 billion in 2013, according to Bloomberg.

It put her wealth at $7.6 billion yesterday – before the shares went up another 10% today.

Big in glass

Lens primarily makes touch-sensitive glass covers for mobile phones, computers and cameras. According to the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, its covers are used in nearly 21% of the world’s smartphones.

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South Korea Earns Samsung Electronics Source: AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon

China’s unprecedented economic boom has turned it into the world’s second-largest economy and raised hundreds of millions out of poverty, but has also created huge income disparities and rampant corruption, with only a relative few accruing vast wealth.

The number of dollar billionaires in mainland China passed 300 in 2013, according to the Hurun Report, a luxury magazine publisher.

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