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China's richest woman's fortune surged by US$2b in 4 days

[HONG KONG] A share surge at Country Garden Holdings Co, China's largest developer by sales, has sent vice-chairman Yang Huiyan's wealth up by US$2.1 billion - and that's just in the first four trading days of the year.

Ms Yang, controlling shareholder of Country Garden, saw her fortune soar to US$25.6 billion as at Jan 5 to rank as the fifth-richest person in the nation, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. That's before Country Garden's shares rose another 6.9 per cent on Monday in Hong Kong trading, taking its year-to-date-gain to 16 per cent.

The 36-year-old Ms Yang is China's richest woman and the nation's youngest billionaire, according to the Bloomberg index. She is believed to have inherited her father's controlling stake in the company in 2005, according to the South China Morning Post. Her father is Yang Guoqiang, usually known by his Cantonese name Yeung Kwok Keung, who co-founded Country Garden Holdings in 1992.

Country Garden has been one of the beneficiaries of a boom in China's property market, which has led to buoyant earnings and booming sales, especially for the nation's largest developers. The company reported preliminary 2017 contracted sales of 550.8 billion yuan (S$112.8 billion) on Friday, exceeding the 500 billion yuan target it provided in August.

Chinese developers including China Evergrande Group have also soared in Hong Kong trading, boosting the fortunes of their executives. Evergrande's Hui Ka Yan, whose wealth is estimated at US$38.2 billion by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, is China's third-richest individual after Alibaba's Jack Ma and Tencent's Pony Ma.