Zhou Qunfei might be the self-made billionaire founder of leading manufacturer Lens Technology, but she came from modest beginnings in a rural community in China’s Hunan province. Zhou lost her mother when she was five years old. Her father was injured in an accident, losing a finger and most of his eyesight. Zhou pitched in to help raise and sell her family’s pigs and ducks. Although she succeeded in school, she dropped out, ending up in a floor job at a watch lens factory when she was sixteen years old. After years of intense and often dull work, Zhou wisely leveraged her experiences working with glass into her own company. “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,” her cousin Zhou Xinyi told the New York Times. When Zhou’s fastidiousness, intelligence, and diligence met the mobile phone boom, her company rocketed her to tremendous success. She became a top glass supplier for Apple and Samsung. Zhou’s stake in Lens Technology is worth $7.2 billion, but she remains humble and diligent, remembering her path from farmer to factory-owner.
Read the full story at The New York Times.