In spite of sexism, China’s female CEOs flourish

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A Chinese CEO caused an uproar a few weeks ago by announcing during the China CEO Summit, held in Beijing, that he would not invest in companies with female CEOs.

“Rule number 10: we usually don’t invest in female CEOs”, read the slide in a presentation given by Luo Mingxiong from Jingbei Investment, an early-stage VC firm, during the investor conference. The remark has aroused public outrage, especially among female entrepreneurs.

“Luo is a low-EQ and narrow-minded investor”, Li Yi, founder and CEO of the renewable energy company Renogy-RNG Inc, wrote on Weibo. She said she was among the female CEOs Luo wouldn’t invest in, and that she would make high achievements in order to refute him.

“This is the 21st century. Can’t believe there are still so many male chauvinists,” commented a popular Wechat account known as “female financial journalists tribe”. The official Weibo account of Xinhua Holdings Limited, formerly known as Xinhua Finance, claimed that this is an example of public sexism, going on to add: “Jingbei Investment has not been reasonable in its investments so far, perhaps this is connected to the capability of its CEO”.

Female CEOs have an increasing presence in China. According to Shanghai Daily, China had the second-highest percentage of female CEOs in the world between 2004 and 2013.

Nina Easton, writing in Fortune, provides some more figures (see here for the original article):

(In China) Some 550 publicly-traded companies, or about 21%, have women on their boards. And Shenzhen-based Ceetop Inc. and China Teletech Holding Inc. are two of the four companies in the world with all-female boards.