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Forbes Reveals Asia's Top 20 Businesswomen
Forbes Reveals Asia's Top 20 Businesswomen

SINGAPORE— Forbes has recently announced the 2021 Asia’s Power Businesswomen list, recognizing 20 female business leaders in the Asia-Pacific region. The complete list can be found at and in the November issue of Forbes Asia.

Rana Wehbe Watson, editor of the 2021 Asia’s Power Businesswomen list, said: “Businesswomen across the Asia Pacific region continue to break barriers and, in many cases, expand their businesses despite the lingering pandemic. Forbes Asia’s Power Businesswomen list this year recognizes 20 outstanding leaders who managed to adapt and thrive in industries including technology, healthcare, banking and manufacturing. They are leading the way as the world struggles with the post-Covid reality.”

All the businesswomen highlighted this year are newcomers to the list, further expanding Forbes Asia’s network of prominent businesswomen in the region. They have been selected for their achievements in managing either a business with sizable revenues or a startup valued at over US$100 million. Among the women on the list is Thailand’s Wallapa Traisorat, president and CEO of real estate company Asset World Corp. (AWC). In late 2019, AWC went public and raised nearly $1.6 billion. Amid the pandemic, AWC has signed new hotel partnerships with InterContinental and Nobu Hospitality, adding to existing ties with Marriott and Hyatt.

Another notable listee is Converge ICT Solutions cofounder and president Maria Grace Y. Uy, who helped grow her company into one of the largest fixed broadband operators in the Philippines. Converge went public in late 2020 in one of the country’s largest-ever IPOs, raising $522 million. Its shares have since risen over 70%, pushing the company’s market capitalization to $4.6 billion.

Helen Wong is the first woman to helm the 89-year-old Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. (OCBC), Singapore’s second-largest bank by market value. She started in banking at OCBC in 1984 and became its first China desk manager in Hong Kong a year later, before joining other banks. In February 2020, Wong returned to OCBC as deputy president and head of global wholesale banking based in Singapore. She was appointed group CEO of OCBC this April.

In January last year, South Korea’s Lee In-kyung became a partner at MBK Partners, one of the largest homegrown buyout firms in Asia with $24 billion in assets under management, headed by billionaire Michael Kim. Lee is MBK’s first female partner in the firm’s 16-year history and has the additional responsibilities of being chief financial officer and head of limited partner relations at MBK.

Also featured on the list is serial entrepreneur Meena Ganesh, who cofounded Portea Medical, India’s largest home healthcare company by revenue. Prior to taking over as chairperson in August, Ganesh had been running the eight-year-old Bangalore-based company as managing director and CEO.

The youngest to make this year’s list is 37-year-old Malaysian Nadiah Wan who holds two CEO titles at her company. She is group CEO and executive director of TMC Life Sciences, a role she took in 2019. She is also CEO of its flagship Thomson Hospital Kota Damansara, a position she has held since 2017. Wan introduced a Covid-19 task force at the hospital and launched a mobile app, providing remote end-to-end patient care.

Keiko Erikawa, executive chairman of Koei Tecmo, cofounded the company with her husband Yoichi and built it into one of Japan’s largest video-game developers over four decades. The listed company now has a market capitalization of $8.5 billion. In June this year, Erikawa became an outside director–and the only woman on the board–of SoftBank Group. She also manages Koei Tecmo’s $1.1 billion in assets across Japan, Hong Kong and the U.S.

Marina Budiman is cofounder and president commissioner of DCI Indonesia, the largest data center operator in Indonesia with over 50% market share. It is also Southeast Asia’s first Tier IV data center, the industry’s highest rating for reliability and resiliency. At around $7 billion, DCI is now one of Indonesia’s most valuable public companies.

Kim Seon-Hee
CEO, Maeil Dairies

In South Korea, Kim has grown Maeil Dairies—which mainly makes milk products for babies and young children—into the country’s largest dairy company by market capitalization. At roughly $470 million, Maeil Dairies’ market value is more than 50% larger than that of Namyang Dairy Products, its closest domestic competitor. Despite a stagnant domestic dairy market, the company’s sales increased 5% in 2020 to 1.5 trillion won ($1.3 billion) compared with the previous year, thanks to Kim’s diversification efforts. A prime example is Selex, a whey protein supplement, launched in 2018. According to Maeil Dairies, Selex has generated about $70 million in cumulative sales since its introduction and last year helped contribute about 14% of the company’s total revenues.

Under Kim’s leadership, Maeil Dairies also made its first foray abroad, opening local subsidiaries in Beijing in 2018 and Melbourne in December last year. Kim, who is the niece of the late Maeil Dairies founder Kim Bok-yong, joined the company as a finance managing director in 2009 after previously working at UBS and Citigroup. She was promoted to CEO in 2014 and spun off Maeil Dairies from holding company Maeil Holdings in 2017. In March, Kim joined the board of directors of SK Inc., the holding company of the SK group, becoming one of the few female board members at one of the largest chaebols in Korea.

Forbes Media

Forbes champions success by celebrating those who have made it, and those who aspire to make it. Forbes convenes and curates the most influential leaders and entrepreneurs who are driving change, transforming business and making a significant impact on the world. The Forbes brand today reaches more than 150 million people worldwide through its trusted journalism, signature LIVE and Forbes Virtual events, custom marketing programs and 44 licensed local editions in 77 countries. Forbes Media’s brand extensions include real estate,education and financial services license agreements. Forbes recently announced plans to go public through a business combination with Magnum Opus (NYSE: OPA), a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), which is expected to close in Q4 of this year or Q1 of next year.

For media queries, please contact:
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