CEO and Founder, Lens Technology, 46
At age 16, Zhou—who grew up on a farm in central China—dropped out of school to work on a factory line in Shenzhen, making watch lenses. At 22, she struck out on her own to found Lens Technology—now a touch-screen glass supplier to Samsung and Apple. She was named China’s wealthiest woman in 2014. But now the fairytale magic seems to be wearing off. In the first quarter of fiscal 2016, Lens’ sales dropped 36%, to $410 million—accompanied by a stunning 59% drop in profits. It’s no coincidence that Lens’ rapid decline mirrored Apple’s 13% year-on-year quarterly sales drop, since it made up almost half of Lens’ revenue in 2015. Zhou has since come under fire from angry shareholders urging her to diversify. This year, the company hopes to cut costs by automating part of its manufacturing system and laying off up to half of its 60,000 employees.