The business industry is known for its male dominance, but the female talent pool can hardly be overlooked as more and more women have entered the spotlight. Below are a selected few Asian females who have played a major part in shaping Asia’s business landscape.
Occupation: Managing partner of GGV Capital
Jenny Lee is the first-ever female venture capitalist who made the Forbes Midas List in 2015. A former jet engineer at Singapore’s ST Aerospace, Lee developed an interest in business when she pursued her master’s degree at the Kellogg School of Management at the University of Chicago (Jenny Lee (venture capitalist)). A managing partner of GGV Capital based in Shanghai, China, Lee is “known for identifying promising entrepreneurs” (Team). She brought GGV’s total capital to $6.2 billion in October 2020 after leading a $1.9 billion fundraising (Team). Lee’s other notable investment activities include her U.S. and China-based GGV Capital–a portion of which is valued at $56 billion, her reopening of the GGV office in Singapore which had previously shut down in 2000, and her investment in Chinese startups including YY, Alibaba, Didi Chuxing, Xiaomi, and Toutiao (Jenny Lee (venture capitalist)).
Occupation: partner and CEO of ZhenFund
Anna Fang is a partner and the CEO of ZhenFund, one of the most notable angel investors in China, which has supported over 600 startup companies and numerous Chinese unicorn startups (Anna Fang) (Parkins). Prior to joining ZhenFund, Fang worked as an investment banker at JPMorgan and GE China (Parkins).
On top of overseeing ZhenFund’s operations, Fang also manages a $950 million fund and leads the firm’s investments in multiple billion-dollar companies, including RED, an online shopping site otherwise known as Xiaohongshu, Mobvoi, Deep Glint, VIPKID, Horizon Robotics, Perfect Diary, and many other successful companies (Anna Fang). She has also created an investment team that supports start-ups either founded or co-founded by fellow female leaders, which has supported over 30 companies (Parkins). Fang is the only female member of the judging panel on the Chinese version of Shark Tank–I’m a Unicorn (Parkins).
Occupation: Founder and CEO of Wantedly
Akiko Naka started her career at Goldman Sachs after graduating from Kyoto University in 2008 (Simms). She later joined Facebook in 2010, however she left within 6 months and “developed an unorthodox way to match employers and job hunters”, contrary to her orthodox career path (Simms).
Naka launched a unique job-search site by the name of Wantedly, which only lists job descriptions for wanted roles and the recruiting companies’ corporate philosophy. Those seeking for employment can contact companies and arrange for a casual visit, during which they can check out the company to see if they feel at home at the company, while the company can also see if the employee can fit in the company’s culture (Simms). This “Not marriage first, but dating first to get to know each other” philosophy of Naka’s has now become the facto standard for recruiting in Japan (Simms).
Wantedly has gained over 2 million users in its short history – almost the same as LinkedIn in the Japanese career networking market, helping to mitigate the effects of a shrinking workforce in Japan (Simms). Wantedly currently has a market value of 29 billion yen (0.27 USD), and a share price three times its initial price at IPO (Simms).
“Anna Fang.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 2021, www.forbes.com/profile/anna-fang/?sh=49c14c0c70df.
“Jenny Lee (Venture Capitalist).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 9 Nov. 2020, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jenny_Lee_(venture_capitalist).
Parkins, Kezia. “Anna Fang (方爱之).” Global Shakers, 2019, globalshakers.com/world-shakers/anna-fang/.
Simms, James. “Asia’s Power Businesswomen 2019: How Wantedly’s Akiko Naka Is Disrupting The Job-Seeking Market In Japan.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 25 Sept. 2019, www.forbes.com/sites/jsimms/2019/09/23/asias-power-businesswomen-2019-how-wantedlys-akiko-naka-is-disrupting-the-job-seeking-market-in-japan/?sh=6e7802793369.
Team, Forbes Asia. “ASIA’S POWER BUSINESSWOMEN.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 8 Jan. 2021, www.forbes.com/sites/forbesasiateam/2019/09/23/asias-power-businesswomen/?sh=650887be6d18.