10 Things You Didn’t Know About Chan Laiwa & Family

Known as one of the richest self-made women billionaires in the world, Chan Laiwa’s tale is that of hard work, determination, and unprecedented success. Despite having grown up in a humble environment, Chan’s entrepreneurial spirit and vision enabled her to establish an impressive real estate empire, Fu Wah International Group.

Here, we unveil 10 lesser-known facts about Chan Laiwa and her family.

1. Chan Laiwa was born into royalty but descended into poverty

Despite being born into one of the noble Manchu Yellow Banner clans in 1941, Chan Laiwa’s early life was nothing like her royal lineage. The fall of the Qing Dynasty plunged her family into poverty, leaving Chan to grow up in a shabby hut amidst financial struggles.

Learning to become resourceful, Chan started her first venture by selling wooden furniture, using the earnings to buy and restore furniture of Chinese emperors and nobles and selling it to antique collectors. It was this venture that laid the foundation of her empire.

2. She started her business empire with no formal education

Chan Laiwa’s education was disrupted by the Cultural Revolution, leaving her with little chances for formal education. However, this didn’t deter her from building a prosperous real estate empire.

Echoing a true testament to the fact that formal education isn’t always a prerequisite for success, Chan relied on her natural business acumen, entrepreneurial spirit, and hard work to rise to the top tier of the global business world.

3. Chan Laiwa is a champion of cultural preservation

One of the most admirable things about Chan Laiwa is her dedication to preserving Chinese history and culture. In 1997, she established the China Red Sandalwood Museum, housing one of the largest collections of exquisite red sandalwood artifacts.

She has invested a significant amount of her fortune into the maintenance of the museum and the creation of a cultural heritage, underlining her commitment towards cultural preservation and history.

4. She’s known as the Red Queen

Due to her influence and role in the preservation of ancient Chinese culture, more specifically, her work with rare red sandalwood, Chan Laiwa has been named the “Red Queen”.

The title holds a dual meaning, speaking to both Chan Laiwa’s noble lineage and her contributions to preserving and promoting red sandalwood culture at a global level.

5. She’s a mother of one

Chan is a mother to her sole son, Hongzhi Chen, who is currently the chair of her company, Fu Wah International. Her son has upheld his mother’s legacy and vision and continues to expand the family empire across various sectors.

Despite the wealth and fame, Chan instilled the core principles of humility and hard work in her son, just as she learned during her days of poverty.

6. The Fu Wah International Group

Chan founded the Fu Wah International Group in the early 1980s, initially dealing in tourism and later expanding into real estate. Today, Fu Wah International Group has become a global business enterprise featuring investments in sectors such as real estate, tourism, hospitality, and healthcare.

Chan’s notion of ‘benefiting the society’ resonates in the company’s business operations, as it often undertakes charitable activities and contributes to local communities.

7. Her unique approach towards philanthropy

Chan is known for her unique approach towards philanthropy. While she is a philanthropist and has donated generously, she firmly believes in the concept of ‘teaching a man to fish’ rather than giving handouts.

She upholds this philosophy in all her philanthropic activities, focusing on initiatives that provide educational opportunities and create self-sustaining communities.

8. She is a deputy to the National People’s Congress

Chan is politically engaged, serving as a deputy to the National People’s Congress of China. Her active involvement in the political arena showcases her commitment to giving back to her community and representing the interests of her business and the cultural preservation sector.

9. Her company developed Beijing’s first five star hotel

The Jinbao Tower, which houses the Beijing Regent Residences and Beijing Regent Hotel, was developed by Chan’s Fu Wah International Group. This marked the opening of Beijing’s first five-star hotel and showcased the company’s focus on high-end real estate.

10. Her resilience in the face of adversity

Throughout her life, Chan has faced numerous challenges, right from her birth in a troubled period to the ups and downs of running a business. Despite this, she has demonstrated an extraordinary resilience, which is one of the cornerstones of her success.

Her story continues to inspire many, serving as a beacon of hope that emphasizes how someone from humble beginnings can rise to become one of the world’s wealthiest individuals.