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Chinese real estate tycoon Chan Laiwa, 71, on Wednesday made the 2012 Time 100 list of most influential people. Chan, also known as Chen Lihua, is set to be in New York for the Time 100 event on Tuesday.
Time profiled Chan, founder and chairwoman of Fu Wah International Group, as an extremely rare "female self-made billionaire" who "is bringing bling to China".
"She has introduced everything from Ferrari dealerships to luxurious private clubs to a Chinese elite infatuated with its newfound wealth — and is helping shape the tastes of a generation of well-heeled consumers," the profile said.
Chan was among a long list of candidates, ranging from Russian president-elect Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to George Clooney and Lady Gaga.
Born to a noble family, the Manchu woman, whose ethnic group ruled the last imperial Chinese dynasty, the Qing Dynasty(1644-1911), emerged as the wealthiest woman in the world's most populous nation and fastest-growing economy. The Forbes website estimated Chan's personal and family wealth at $2.3 billion as of March.
Chan, whose childhood years were spent in the Summer Palace in the heart of Beijing, is now most famously known for being fond of imperial furniture, especially the ones made from red sandalwood.
She owns the world's largest private museum specializing in red sandalwood objects and runs the prestigious Chang'an Club, which sits next to Tiananmen Square and has been rated the country's best private club for seven consecutive years by Hurun Report, the leading Chinese luxury business magazine.
Chan is a senior member of China's top political advisory body, the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, and holds various other titles.