Meet the High School Dropout Who Is Now the Richest Self-Made Woman on Earth

There’s a new richest, and youngest, self-made woman in the world.

Her name is Zhou Qunfei, she’s under 50 and she’s a high school dropout.

Zhou, from China, has a total net worth of $10.3 billion, per Bloomberg’s latest Billionaires Index.

She founded a hugely successful company that makes touchscreens, called Lens Technology.

Her prestigious clients include Apple and Samsung.

You might be touching a product of Zhou’s if you own a smartphone, tablet, laptop or digital camera, according to Reuters.

It all started with watches, though.

Zhou was a great student, but when she was 16 she had to drop out of school to help support her family.

The teen got a job assembling watch lenses.

The pay wasn’t good, but her family needed her income.

Eventually, Zhou started her own company, making her own watch lenses.

View this post on Instagram

#BrainBreakfast: "No country has more self-made female billionaires than China. The Communist Party, under Mao Zedong, promoted gender equality, allowing women to flourish after capitalism started to take hold… And in a country with few established players, entrepreneurs like Ms. Zhou were able to quickly make their mark when they entered business in the 1990s as China’s economic engine was revving up. Ms. Zhou’s stake in Lens Technology, which went public this year, is worth $7.2 billion. That puts her fortune on par with the media tycoon John C. Malone and Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay… Along the way, #ZhouQunfei married her former factory boss, had a child and divorced. She later married a longtime factory colleague, who serves on the Lens board, and had a second child…" #NYT #DroolMom #bosslady #thedrool

A post shared by The Drool (@thedrool) on

“I didn’t have a diploma, so it was hard for me to find a government job and that’s why I decided to be an entrepreneur,” she told AFR.

In 2003, Samsung called Zhou to place an order.

The company was interested in upgrading its phone screens from plastic to glass, wrote the New York Times.

Getty Images | Sean Gallup

With the switch from watch lenses to smartphone screens, Lens Technology took off.

AFR writes the company provides the screens for a quarter of all smartphones, and Money estimates the company is worth around $11 billion. Zhou took Lens Technology public in 2015.

“In the Hunan language, we call women like her ‘ba de man,’ which means a person who dares to do what others are afraid to do,” Zhou Xinyi, a member of the Lens Technology board and Zhou’s cousin, told the New York Times.

View this post on Instagram

Day 1 #PKU China's Most Powerful Women Week Zhou Qunfei, 45, is now ranked No.1 in Hurun's list of the #Richest Self-Made Women in the World 2015. #Hurun reported that Zhou's company, Lens Technology, was worth $7.8 billion. She’s also ranked No.18 on #Fortune’s Most #Powerful Women’s Asia-Pacific list this year. Zhou's story is one of #rags to riches. She was born to a poor family. When she was young, her father became disabled during an accident. However, her father was very optimistic and tried to learn new skills following the accident all whilst taking care of Zhou and her brothers. Zhou inherited this never-quit #spirit. She started as a common worker in a glass factory, and soon became the leader of a production line by leveraging knowledge she taught herself from a #book. After she got enough experience with glass production she started her own company, a tiny lens company consisting of several of her cousins, when she turned 23 using less than $3000 as a startup fund. Now she produces lens #screens for many big name #cellphone companies including #Motorola and #Apple. Follow us on #Instagram or visit us on #campus! Or both! #Business in China is more than #Management #Skills. #Explore. #Discover. #China. #picoftheday #richwomen #truestory #selfmade #womenpower #billionaire #girlpower #photooftheday #inspire

A post shared by MBA @ Peking University (@pku_mba) on

Zhou’s success is all thanks to her incredible work ethic.

Employees have said she regularly inspects all aspects of the manufacturing process.

She even takes time to work at different stations to make sure everything functions as it should.

Zhou also has an apartment at her office, because her days are so long.

The Previous Record Holder

According to Money, Zhou recently overtook Elizabeth Holmes, founder of Theranos, for the title of richest self-made woman.

You may recall Theranos’ struggles began after inaccuracies in its blood tests were revealed.

Forbes then abruptly adjusted Holmes’ estimated net worth from $4.5 billion to zero.

Overall, Zhou currently ranks No. 134 on Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index.

Jack Ma, the founder of the e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, is the highest ranking person from China on the list, with a total net worth of $43.2 billion.

Bill Gates holds steady at No. 1 with a total net worth of $91.3 billion.

Want To Get Rich? Here Are 5 Tips From Millionaires

To be honest, we all want to be rich, right? Okay, maybe not all of us, but not worrying about money would certainly be nice. Well, we did some digging to find out the best ways to get rich, according to millionaires.

The gist? Start and maintain healthy financial habits. Below, we gathered some of the best ones we found.

RELATED: The ‘starve and stack’ method could help you save up to $50,000 in two years

About the Author

Haley Otman

Haley Otman is a news and features writer based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she roots for the University of Michigan Wolverines. A former broadcast news producer, Haley has 10 years of writing experience and has worked in both journalism and public relations. Learn More.