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The Most Powerful Women of Asia-Pacific

For 16 years, Fortune has ranked the most powerful women in American business. For almost as long, we have done the same for the most powerful women outside of America.

This year we’re trying something new. In February, Fortune launched its first-ever Most Powerful Women Global edition, and in this issue we have created a ranking for two segments of the world where women are making the most progress: Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), and the Asia-Pacific region. (We did not include women from less well-represented areas, such as Maria das Graças Foster, CEO of Brazilian oil giant Petrobras. She topped our MPW International list in 2013.)

Our franchise is expanding for good reason: More and more businesswomen are taking tougher jobs and helming bigger firms. More than a third of the women on our Asia-Pacific list are making their MPW debut—for example, Lucy Peng (No. 11) and Maggie Wu (No. 12) from Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba. Then there’s Kwon Seon-joo (No. 15), who became Korea’s first female bank CEO last December, and two new women from India, Arundhati Bhattacharya (No. 4) of State Bank of India and Nishi Vasudeva (No. 5) of Hindustan Petroleum, who are the first women leading their respective Fortune Global 500 companies. See our EMEA list here or scroll to meet the power women shaping the new world order in the Asia-Pacific region.

(Note: #s in parentheses were from last year’s rankings)

1. Gail Kelly, 58

Gail Kelly, chief executive officer of Westpac Banking Corp., smiles during a news conference in Sydney, Australia, on Monday, May 5, 2014. Westpac, Australias second-biggest lender by market value, reported a 8 percent increase in first-half cash profit on loan growth, wealth management income and lower bad debt expenses. Photographer: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Managing Director and CEO,
Westpac Group
Australia (3)

Originally from South Africa, Kelly began her career there as a bank teller. In 2002, she went down under and these days she sits atop Australia’s oldest and third largest bank, Westpac, (which ranks No. 288 on this year’s Fortune Global 500 list) with $38.5 billion in revenues. Since taking the reins in 2008, Kelly has steered the bank to steady dividend growth, near record stock prices and rising profits—up 8% to $7 billion in 2013. She’s also made progress toward another goal: gender parity in Westpac senior management positions BY 2017. Westpac’s senior team is now 42% female, up from 32% in 2010.

2. Chanda Kochhar, 52

Chanda Kochhar, managing director and chief executive officer of ICICI Bank Ltd., attends the Annual Bankers’ Conference in Mumbai, India, on Friday, Nov. 15, 2013. Palaniappan Chidambaram, India’s finance minister, said new banking licenses will be given in January 2014. Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Managing Director and CEO,
India (4)

3. Chua Sock Koong, 57

Chua Sock Koong, chief executive officer of Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel), speaks during an interview at the company’s offices in Singapore, on Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013. SingTel, Southeast Asia’s biggest phone company, posted first-quarter profit that beat analyst estimates after cutting costs at its Optus unit in Australia and higher earnings from associates. Photographer: Munshi Ahmed/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Singapore Telecommunications
Singapore (7)

4. Arundhati Bhattacharya, 58

Arundhati Bhattacharya, chairman of State Bank of India, speaks at the Annual Bankers’ Conference in Mumbai, India, on Friday, Nov. 15, 2013. Palaniappan Chidambaram, India’s finance minister, said new banking licenses will be given in January 2014. Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg via Getty Images

State Bank of India
India (New)

Bhattacharya, the first woman to hold the three-year post at SBI, oversees a 208-year-old institution with $400 billion in assets and 218,000 employees dispersed among 16,000 bank branches across India. Bhattacharya, who studied English literature before embarking on her 37-year career at SBI, became Chairman last October just as the economy was slowing and bad loans were piling up on the bank’s books. She got straight to work, implementing stricter lending requirements and making efforts to modernize the bank and increase its reach.

5. Nishi Vasudeva, 58

INDIA – MARCH 30: Nishi Vasudeva, Executive Director, IT. & ERP, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited, poses at office, in Mumbai, india. Potrait (Photo by Foto Corner/The India Today Group/Getty Images)

Chairman and Managing Director,
Hindustan Petroleum
India (New)

In March, Vasudeva, 58, became the first woman to head an Indian oil company, and one of only four women to helm a Global Fortune 500 firm in the Asia-Pacific region. The 36-year energy industry veteran is leading a rapid technology upgrade of the $39 billion-in-revenue state-owned energy company and considering overseas acquisitions.

6. Li Dang, 47

China General Technology
China (New)

7. Ho Ching, 61

Ho Ching, the wife of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and executive director and CEO of Temasek Holdings, takes part in a press conference in Singapore on February 6, 2009. Ho Ching will step down after five years as chief executive of Temasek Holdings, one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds. AFP PHOTO/ROSLAN RAHMAN (Photo credit should read ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Executive Director and CEO,
Singapore (12)

8. Dong Mingzhu, 60

BEIJING, CHINA – DECEMBER 11: (CHINA OUT) Dong Mingzhu, Chairwoman of Gree Electric Appliances Inc., attends the 2013 China Central Television (CCTV) Financial Forum at China World Trade Center Tower III on December 11, 2013 in Beijing, China. The three-day forum opened on Tuesday ahead of the “2013 CCTV China Economic Person Of The Year Award”. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)

Chairperson and President,
Gree Electric Appliances of Zhuhai
China (30)

9. Wang Fengying, 44

Great Wall Motor chief executive Wang Feng Ying smiles during a press conference in the new Great Wall Motor car plant in the northern village of Bahovitsa on February 21, 2012. China’s Great Wall Motor eyes to enter the European market with cars assembled in Bulgaria, its chief executive Wang Feng Ying said at its plant opening. AFP PHOTO / NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV (Photo credit should read NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/AFP/Getty Images)

CEO and Executive Director,
Great Wall Motor
China (31)

China’s first female auto executive, Fengying took a sales job at Great Wall in 1991. She rose quickly, as did the company, which is now China’s largest maker of SUVs. Its goal is  to surpass the sales numbers of Jeep in a few short years. While sales were up 32% in 2013, Great Wall hit rough road earlier this year when it had production delays and transmission problems with its new luxury SUV. Other tests for Fengying: declining sales and increasing preference among Chinese consumers for foreign-made autos. Still, the company is in expansion mode: it added 9,000 employees earlier this year and has invested $520 million in a manufacturing plant in Russia.

10. Shikha Sharma, 55

INDIA – MARCH 13: Shikha Sharma, Managing Director and CEO of ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, at a press conference in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India (Photo by Shriya Patil/The India Today Group/Getty Images)

Managing Director and CEO,
Axis Bank
India (32)

11. Lucy Peng, 41

Chief People Officer and CEO,
Small and Micro Financial Services company,
Alibaba Group
China (New)

12. Maggie Wu, 46

Chief Financial Officer,
Alibaba Group
China (New)

13. Sun Yafang, 58

Huawei Technologies
China (26)

14. Hyun Jeong-eun, 59

Hyundai Group
South Korea (New)

15. Kwon Seon-joo, 57

Kwon Seon Joo, chief executive officer of Industrial Bank of Korea, speaks during an interview at the bank’s headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, on Monday, Feb. 17, 2014. Kwon plans to expand into India, Indonesia and Cambodia to provide financing for Korean clients doing business there. Photographer: Jean Chung/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Industrial Bank of Korea
South Korea (New)

16. Wu Yajun, 50

–FILE–Wu Yajun, Chairwoman, Executive Director and CEO of Longfor Properties Co., Ltd., attends the 10th China Entrepreneur Summit 2011 in Beijing, China, 10 December 2011.

Half of the worlds female billionaires who made their own fortunes are Chinese, according to a global ranking of female executives released Tuesday (17 September 2013). In the Hurun Reports list of rich and powerful women of the year, 14 of the 28 female entrepreneurs with assets of more than $1 billion (as of Aug. 15) were from mainland China. Chen Lihua, 72, of the real estate firm Fu Wah, is at the top of the list with a fortune of 37 billion yuan (US$6.04 billion) which outpaced that of the recently deceased Rosalia Mera. According to the Hurun list, Wu Yajun, 49, a former journalist and founder of real estate firm Longfor; Zhang Yin, 56, who buys and ships scrap paper from the US to China; and Zhang Xin, 48, of real estate developer Soho China, are all wealthier than Oprah Winfrey.

Executive Director and Chairman,
Longfor Properties
China (New)

A real estate-journalist turned property tycoon, Yajun founded Longfor Properties with her husband in 1994 and has since become one of China’s wealthiest women. The couple divorced in 2012 (her stake is now 43%; his is 29%) and the country’s property market has cooled, but Yajun has kept Longor, one of China’s largest real estate firms, humming along. Revenues were up 49% in 2013 to $6.8 billion, and the company, which specializes in homes and the “Paradise Walk” mall, expanded development to 23 cities. Yajun also serves as a representative of the National Peoples’ Congress.

17. Zhang Xin, 49

Zhang Xin, chief executive officer of Soho China Ltd., pauses during an interview in Hong Kong, China, on Thursday, March 7, 2013. Soho China, the biggest developer in Beijing?s central business district, plans to accelerate land and project acquisitions this year as it shifts toward being a landlord from focusing on selling properties. Photographer: Jerome Favre/Bloomberg via Getty Images

SOHO China
China (50)

18. Wei Sun Christianson, 58

Wei Sun Christianson, chief executive officer and managing director of Morgan Stanley’s China operations, attends a panel discussion at the Eighth China Financial Markets Conference in Beijing, China, on Monday, Nov. 9, 2009. The conference, sponsored by the Wall Street Journal, takes place for one day. Photographer: Nelson Ching/Bloomberg

Co-CEO, Asia Pacific, and CEO, China,
Morgan Stanley
China (41)

19. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, 61

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, chairman and managing director of Biocon Ltd., pauses during an interview at the company’s headquarters in Bangalore, India, on Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012. Biocon is India’s biggest biotechnology company. Photographer: Namas Bhojani/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Chairperson and Managing Director,
India (Return)

20. Rachel Duan, 44

TIANJIN, CHINA – SEPTEMBER 12: (CHINA OUT) Rachel Duan, President and Chief Executive Officer of GE Healthcare China, attends the interactive session ‘Sustainable Health Systems in the Future Economy’ during the 2012 Tianjin Summer Davos at Meijiang Convention and Exhibition Center on September 12, 2012 in Tianjin, China. World Economic Forum 2012 Tianjin Summer Davos will be held from September 11 to 13, with the theme of ‘Creating Future Economy’. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)

President and CEO,
GE Greater China
China (New)

GE tapped its China Healthcare unit chief to also run Greater China—one of its key growth markets—in July, after the previous CEO transferred to France. The nearly 20-year company veteran now oversees almost $7 billion in revenue, 18,000 employees and 30 wholly owned subsidiaries and joint ventures. The US-educated Chinese native is pushing a shift of the country’s energy use toward natural gas, key to the US conglomerate’s growth in the region.

21. Alison Watkins, 51

Alison Watkins, chief executive officer of GrainCorp Ltd., speaks at an event organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Melbourne, Australia, on Friday, March 30, 2012. GrainCorp, which operates seven of the eight ports that ship grain in bulk from Australia’s east coast, has tripled its sales since the world’s second-largest wheat exporting nation began deregulating the industry in 2006, and is projected by analysts to report record profit this year. Photographer: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Group Managing Director,
Coca-Cola Amatil
Australia (38)

Coca Cola Amatil, one of Coca-Cola’s top ten bottlers, hired outsider Watkins, 51, the former head of GrainCorp., to take over from long-serving head Terry Davis this year. That makes Watkins one of only four female CEOs of Australia’s top 50 listed companies. The group, which is also one of Australia’s largest premium foods and beverage manufacturers with $6.4 billion in market capitalization and 14,000 employees, is looking to Watkins to expand its brewery business and internationalize its operations.

22. Chitra Ramkrishna, 51

Managing Director and CEO,
National Stock Exchange
India (17)

23. Naina Lal Kidwai, 57

Naina Lal Kidwai, chairman of HSBC Securities India Holdings India unit, speaks during an interview in Mumbai, India, on Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2010. HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe’s largest bank, expects to turn its Indian consumer-banking business profitable within 12 months after at least five years of losses, the lender’s top executive said. Photographer: Adeel Halim/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Country Head, India, and Director,
HSBC Asia-Pacific
India (42)

24. Cher Wang, 56

Cher Wang, chairwoman of HTC Corp., speaks during an interview at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013. HTC Corp., the Taiwanese smartphone maker that posted its first-ever quarterly loss last week, said the next two months will be its “biggest challenge” as it tries to convince consumers its products are as innovative as those from Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images

HTC and VIA Technologies
Taiwan (Return)

25. Mallika Srinivasan, 54

INDIA – SEPTEMBER 11: Mallika Srinivasan, Director, Tractor and Farm Equipment (TAFE), poses with Tractors, in Chennai, India. Profile (Photo by G Keshavraj/The India Today Group/Getty Images)

Chairman and CEO,
India (New)

Under her watch, the tractor company her father started in 1960 in Southern India has grown into the third biggest tractor maker in the world by volume. TAFE manufactures over 170,000 tractors a year—up from 4,000 in 1985, when she joined the group. The business, valued at $1.6 billion, is relatively small, but for Wharton-educated Srinivasan the key is exports. Her long-term strategic alliance with US based agriculture equipment manufacturer AGCO (in which TAFE is a large stock owner and she is a board member) has helped TAFE become India’s largest exporter of tractors. The President of India honored her this year with the Padmashri, one of the highest civilian awards, for her contribution to trade and industry.