Chan among Time's 100 most influential
Updated: 2012-04-19 11:12
By Zhang Yuwei in New York (China Daily)
Chinese businesswoman Chan Laiwa was voted one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World for 2012 on Wednesday.
Chan, 71, is founder and chairwoman of Fu Wah International Group, one of Beijing's biggest commercial-property developers, and a self-made billionaire and philanthropist.
Forbes estimated her personal and family wealth at $2.3 billion as of March.
Chan in 1999 established the China Red Sandalwood Museum in Beijing, a privately owned museum dedicated to preserving the Chinese art of sandalwood carving. Chan has donated sandalwood artwork to museums around the world, including the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.
Actor and comedian Jackie Chan, describing Chan as his "cherished friend," wrote on Time's website that while real estate made Chan rich, "her success comes from her genuine understanding of people, her steadfast dedication to education and the arts and her profound commitment to philanthropy".
Time's profile of Chan says she "is bringing bling to China," having introduced "everything from Ferrari dealerships to luxurious private clubs to a Chinese elite infatuated with its newfound wealth - and is helping shape the tastes of a generation of well-heeled consumers".
Born in Beijing, Chan is a descendant of a noble Manchu family of the Yellow Banner Clan. Manchu is the ethic group that led China's Qing dynasty (1644-1911).
In its ninth year, the Time list recognizes activism, innovation and achievements of the world's most influential individuals, including politicians, artists and business leaders. Topping the 2012 honorees is Chinese-American basketball player Jeremy Lin. US President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney are also listed.
"The Time 100 list is about the infinite possibilities of influence and the power of influence to change the world," Time managing editor Richard Stengel wrote on the magazine's website.
"The Time 100 is not a list of the most powerful people in the world, it's not a list of the smartest people in the world, it's a list of the most influential people in the world. People who are using their ideas, their visions, their actions to transform the world and have an effect on a multitude of people."
Chan is set to attend the Time 100 gala in New York next Tuesday. The event features US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as keynote speaker, along pop music stars Rihanna and Raphael Saadiq. All three are on the 2012 Time 100 list.