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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 October 2006, 06:46 GMT 07:46 UK
Woman tops China's new rich list
Yuan notes
China's rampant economy is creating a widening income gap
Paper-recycling tycoon Zhang Yin has become the first woman to top the list of China's richest people, with a fortune of $3.4bn (1.8bn).

Ms Zhang is the 49-year-old founder of Nine Dragons Paper, which buys scrap paper from the US for use in China.

Her wealth rose from $375m last year, when she was 36th in the annual China Rich List, compiled by Hurun Report.

Nine Dragons' shares have almost tripled in value since they were listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Ms Zhang is now the richest self-made woman in the world, ahead of US TV celebrity Oprah Winfrey and Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.

She takes over the top position from retail magnate Huang Guangyu of Gome Electrical Appliances.

There are 35 women on the 500-strong Hurun list, which contains 15 billionaires, double the number from 2005.

In July, Chinese president Hu Jintao called for greater measures to tackle the wealth gap.

The divide has accelerated as market forces exert a greater control over the economy, which grew at 11.3% in the second quarter of 2006.

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