22 April 2019
Who are Hong Kong's most powerful women?
Who are Hong Kong's most powerful women?

Who should have made it to Forbes’ most powerful women list

With all due respect to Forbes, the foremost authority in ranking the world’s richest, we are not sure if we can agree with its selection of the most powerful women in business.

The business magazine, now partly owned by Hong Kong investor Yam Tak-cheung, has picked five highly regarded ladies from Hong Kong for its list of Asia’s 50 most powerful businesswomen.

They are, in the order of their surnames, Solina Chau, Vivian Chen, Sonia Cheng, Pansy Ho and Rose Lee. They are not household names. Three of them have a rich father while the other two have a powerful husband or boyfriend.

Except one who publicly said, but later denied, she might consider running for chief executive, all are pretty low-key individuals with no political ambitions.

Now we offer you a complementary list of who should, and probably will, make it to the honorable list one day.

Regina Ip Lau Shuk-yee. Who was not amused at her being bumped off by a Ki Lun at the Che Kung Temple in Sha Tin on the second day of the Lunar New Year? Netizens made a big fuss of the incident, interpreting it as an inauspicious sign about what could happen if she pursued her plans to run for chief executive. (How else would one read her being swept out of her place by the dancer?) But turning the embarrassing situation into a PR opportunity, Ip Lau gamely posted on social media a photo of her with the Ki Lun master after giving him a red packet with HK$500. Such a display of quick thinking and EQ. She’ll be a formidable contender in two years.

Emily Lau Wai-hing. She is a lady version of non-smoking Sze To-wah, but just as tough and iron-willed as him. She can be loud, but not impolite. She can talk and make deals behind the camera, but she roars like a tiger in public. Arguably, she has a tougher job than CY, leading a declining party at a critical time like tonight, with no government minister or business tycoon showing up at its 20th anniversary bash. But she can tough it out. The challenge really is to find a successor who can do a better job.

Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fan. She always surprises people with what she says, not what she means to say. That’s what happened when she made the horrible analogy between Islamic State militants who beheaded their hostages and legislator Albert Chan Wai-yip and others who filibustered and successfully blocked her Innovation and Technology Bureau. Well, how do you expect her to react when those Legco spoilsports frustrated her dream of running a HK$5 billion empire? Law Fan is an icon of power, and a lady with powerful words. It’s just that power doesn’t always serve her well.

Laura Cha. Chairing the Financial Services Development Council and being an Executive Council member, Cha is not only an important person in the business community but also a rising political star in Hong Kong — from Beijing’s perspective. Last October, she urged the young activists of the Occupy protests to be a bit more patient in waiting for true democracy as even the black slaves in America took a hundred years before they won the right to vote. Many observers said it was highly inappropriate to compare Hongkongers with black slaves, but at least she dared to admit that Beijing’s universal suffrage proposal for Hong Kong is not a real one.

Leung Chai-yan. What can we say – Hong Kong’s version of George W. Bush’s daughter? Well, the 23-year-old girl, as she said so herself, is just Chai-yan. It’s not easy to understand why she wants to be a model or movie star, but she generates lots of attention (and press coverages, too) when she talks about her parents. That explains why she has so many followers on Facebook. Thanks to her social media experience, her father reportedly asked John Tsang to go Facebook in his budget address and everything turned out fine.

Editor’s choice: Mandy Lieu. It seems that her image pops up every time our editor requests me for a better story idea. Readers’ Choice, too, because this American-Malaysian beauty almost always draws many likes on our website. Now patiently waiting for pregnancy in Singapore, we are looking forward to her return to Argenta, her luxury home, and more stories to come. Wish the VIP gaming room she received from her boyfriend will continue to be a cash cow, despite a slowdown in the sector.

– Contact us at [email protected]


Emily Lau (left) is faced with a tough job: senior government officials won’t attend the Democratic Party’s annual dinner. Regina (right) Ip was recently bumped by an unicorn dancer. Photos: HKEJ

Fanny Law (left) is known for likening lawmakers who opposed the proposed technology bureau to terrorists. Laura Cha compares Hong Kong people with black slaves. Photos: HKEJ

Mandy Lieu (left) owns a VIP gaming room. Leung Chai-yan will play a part in a movie. Photos: Getty Image, Facebook

EJ Insight writer

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