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Savitri Jindal replaces China's Yang Huiyan as the richest woman in Asia. Their stories

In 2005, Yang Huiyan inherited her father’s stake in the real estate developer, becoming one of the youngest billionaires on the planet. In the same year, Savitri Jindal was forced to take over the reins of her husband Om Prakash Jindal’s conglomerate after he died in a helicopter crash.

July 30, 2022 / 02:42 PM IST
Chairperson Emeritus of Jindal Group Savitri Jindal and China’s Country Garden Holdings' Ultimate Controlling Shareholder Yang Huiyan. (Image credit: Jindal Group/@MalubaMedia)

Chairperson Emeritus of Jindal Group Savitri Jindal and China’s Country Garden Holdings' Ultimate Controlling Shareholder Yang Huiyan. (Image credit: Jindal Group/@MalubaMedia)


China's Yang Huiyan had a fortune of about $24 billion, making her the richest woman in Asia. But that was in 2021. Owing to the real estate crisis in China, Huiyan--who controls China’s largest real estate developer Country Garden Holdings--lost $11 billion this year and lost her rank in the billionaire's index to Savitri Jindal.

With a net worth of $18 billion, Savitri Jindal is India’s richest woman and the only woman in the top 10 of Forbes’ list of richest Indians in 2021.

While it has been a dramatic fall for Yang Huiyan, who for the past five years was Asia’s richest woman, Savitri Jindal’s net worth has fluctuated wildly in the recent years. It fell to $3.2 billion in April 2020 at the start of the Covid pandemic and then reached as high as $15.6 billion in April 2022 as Russian invasion of Ukraine sent commodity prices soaring, reported Bloomberg.

The 2005 connection

In 2005, Yang Huiyan inherited her father’s stake in the real estate developer, becoming one of the youngest billionaires on the planet.

She had in 2018 famously made $2billion in 4 days. This year, however, she lost more than $1 billion in just one day.

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The 41-year-old now owns about 60 per cent of Country Garden and a 43 per cent stake in its management-services unit.

In the same year when Yang Huiyan rose to power, Savitri Jindal  was forced to take over the reins of her husband Om Prakash Jindal’s steel and power conglomerate after he died in a helicopter crash. She was 55.

Today, she is the Chairperson Emeritus of the OP Jindal Group, whose revenue grew by four times under her leadership.

Read more: Asia's richest woman lost $11 billion. That's half her wealth. Here's what happened

Public life

Despite her high-profile fortune, Yang Huiyan maintains such a low profile that not many photos of her can be found on the internet.

Savitri Jindal, on the other hand, lives an active public life. She was elected to the Haryana Vidhan Sabha from Hisar constituency in 2005 after her husband's death. She lost the seat after the 2014 elections. She is a member of the Indian National Congress party.

Interestingly, however, in an interview to Forbes in 2010, Savitri Jindal had famously said that women in the Jindal family do not venture out. “We remain in charge of the house while the men take care of everything outside."

“I had never even been to the Hisar market. Jindal sahab used to say that everyone in the market was a relative and elder to you. And women in our house were not supposed speak to elders,’’ she had said.

Born in a town called Tinsukia in Assam in on March 20, 1950, Savitri married OP Jindal in the 1970s. Besides being a successful businessman, he was also a minister in the Haryana Government and a member of the Haryana Vidhan Sabha from Hisar constituency.

The mother of nine children, Savitri Jindal had four sons with OP Jindal: Prithviraj, Sajjan, Ratan and Naveen Jindal who now control the group's companies.

Read more: Savitri Jindal: India’s richest woman, whose fortune rose by $12 billion in 2 years
Ankita Sengupta
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