The Corporate Women
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Zhong Huijuan: Shaping the Pharmaceutical Industry as a Self-Made Billionaire


Zhong Huijuan stands out as a prominent figure in the business world, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry. Born in April 1961 in Lianyungang, Jiangsu Province, she has not only earned recognition as a key figure in pharmaceuticals but also holds the esteemed title of the world’s wealthiest self-made woman. Zhong is the driving force behind the success of Hansoh Pharmaceutical, a company that has redefined the pharmaceutical landscape and positioned her among the wealthiest individuals globally.

A Modest Start

Zhong’s journey into the pharmaceutical realm is a compelling narrative of resilience and ingenuity. After completing her studies in chemistry at Jiangsu Normal University in July 1982, she began her career as a chemistry teacher at Yan’an Middle School in Lianyungang. Meanwhile, her husband, Sun Piaoyang, managed a state-owned pharmaceutical factory in the same city, eventually evolving into Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine, China’s largest listed pharmaceutical company.

In 1995, Sun and a Hong Kong-based investor initiated a new pharmaceutical venture, laying the foundation for Hansoh Pharmaceutical Group. Zhong seized the opportunity to step into the pharmaceutical arena as a founder, marking a pivotal moment in her career.

Building a Pharmaceutical Empire

Hansoh Pharmaceutical started with a small team, but its growth was swift. By 1997, the company had generated $4.5 million in revenue. Zhong’s dedication to the company’s expansion was evident as she reinvested a significant 5% of sales revenue into research and development. The company delved into producing a range of pharmaceutical products, encompassing antibiotics, cancer treatments, and drugs related to psychotropic, endocrine, and gastrointestinal disorders.

Zhong’s steadfast commitment to research and development led to an increase in the budget for this purpose, reaching nearly 10% of the company’s revenue—a substantial investment in the industry.

Scaling New Heights

In June 2019, Hansoh Pharmaceutical achieved a significant milestone with its initial public offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, raising an impressive $1 billion. This accomplishment propelled Zhong to the status of the richest self-made woman in Asia, boasting a net worth of $10.5 billion, surpassing even her husband’s fortune of $9.4 billion.

Majority Stakeholder and Wealth Accumulation

As the majority shareholder, Zhong holds a commanding 66% stake in Hansoh Pharmaceutical. In 2021, Forbes recognised her as the world’s 89th richest person, with an impressive net worth of $19.7 billion.

By 2019, the company had emerged as the largest producer of psychotropic drugs in China. Zhong, who owns 66% of the company through the Sunrise Trust registered in the British Virgin Islands, experienced a significant increase in her wealth in 2020, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Forbes acknowledged her as the world’s 9th richest woman and the 20th richest individual in China in that year, according to Hurun.


Zhong’s exceptional contributions earned her the March 8th Red Banner Pacesetter Award in 2007, recognising her outstanding achievements as a working woman in China.

A Private Powerhouse

While Zhong and her husband, Sun Piaoyang, have accumulated substantial wealth and influence, they maintain a relatively private profile, rarely granting interviews. Their daughter, Sun Yuan, also holds an executive role in Hansoh Pharmaceutical and has a stake in the company, ensuring the family’s legacy in the pharmaceutical industry.

Zhong Huijuan’s remarkable journey from a chemistry teacher to the helm of a pharmaceutical empire serves as a testament to her unwavering commitment to innovation and excellence. Her impact on the pharmaceutical world is a source of inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs and business leaders alike.



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