The richest Chinese person

This isn’t really design related, but certainly interesting to those who are looking at manufacturing developments in Asia.

Paper-recycling tycoon Zhang Yin has become the first woman to top the list of China’s richest people, with a fortune of $3.4bn (£1.8bn).

Ms Zhang is the 49-year-old founder of Nine Dragons Paper, which buys scrap paper from the US for use in China.


I heard about this on Asia News Network last night. I think it is a valuable insight into an earlier discussion about how if China plans to develop it’s citizens product levels to the same as the US and Europe they are going to have to mine the worlds resources in a major way. When someone buying paper from one country to recycle for use in another becomes the richest person in the country this is a big deal. One it means that china is having to develop it’s recycling systems and may become the largest recycler in the world. Second it follows a stream of activities to show they are serious about gaining natural resources. others are;

  1. They are legally and illegally destroying the forests of Siberia for wood for furniture
  2. They are developing very close business relations with Africa in order to get oil and other natural resources. Some African leaders are excited about this because Chinese support does not come with the strings of improving society or regime change or human rights improvements.

I think if designers are going to think beyond “I draw something and it gets made” then this is indeed the tip of an iceberg of very important news.

I did some research into Nine Dragons. Apparently they are the largest box manufacturer in China. That explains the wealth more than recycling. I guess the recycling part is vertical integration.