You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

China's Most Successful Businesswoman Has Not Taken a Day Off in 27 Years In China, she is famously known as 'Sister Dong' and her career path has certainly been an interesting one.

By Thomas Colson

entrepreneur daily

This story originally appeared on Business Insider

China Photos/Getty via Business Insider
Gree Electric chairwoman Dong Mingzhu.

Dong Mingzhu, 61, is China's most successful businesswoman as the leader of the $22 billion air-conditioning giant Gree.

She also allegedly has not taken a single day of paid holiday leave in a 27-year tenure at the company, according to Quartz.

Mingzhu hit the headlines this week after Forbes China released its annual list 100 Top Businesswomen.

At the top of the ranking is 61-year-old Dong, where her company Gree makes $12 billion a year in revenue.

In China, she is famously known as "Sister Dong" and her career path has certainly been an interesting one.

She arrived at Gree as a salesperson in 1990, when annual sales amounted to little over £10 million, and quickly rose up the ranks as she marked herself out as a fiercely hard worker.

Fast-forward 26 years, and Gree is the largest air-conditioning manufacturer in the world, its stock value having grown by 2,300 percent under her leadership. Sales of Gree units account for two in every five sold in the country, and it has a market capitalisation of over £17.8 billion.

Described by The New York Times as "one of the toughest businesswomen in China," her formidable example has won her the loyal devotion of the firm's 70,000-strong army of employees.

One employee told The Telegraph in 2009: "She's been through everything herself. We never dare to say that something is impossible in front of her. We must all have her will to succeed."

"Where Sister Dong walks, no grass grows" and "when she chews you up, she doesn't even spit out the bones" are two judgments made by competitors reported by The New York Times.

She refuses to apologize for her focus -- her 2006 autobiography was titled Regretless Pursuit -- but it has come at a personal cost. She began work at the company as a widow after her husband died in 1984 and she left her infant son to be raised by his grandmother. One story goes that she once sent her 12-year-old son to the airport alone by bus because she was busy at work.

Thomas Colson

Writer

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Side Hustle

He Took His Side Hustle Full-Time After Being Laid Off From Meta in 2023 — Now He Earns About $200,000 a Year: 'Sweet, Sweet Irony'

When Scott Goodfriend moved from Los Angeles to New York City, he became "obsessed" with the city's culinary offerings — and saw a business opportunity.

Business News

James Clear Explains Why the 'Two Minute Rule' Is the Key to Long-Term Habit Building

The hardest step is usually the first one, he says. So make it short.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Living

Get Your Business a One-Year Sam's Club Membership for Just $14

Shop for office essentials, lunch for the team, appliances, electronics, and more.

Business News

Microsoft's New AI Can Make Photographs Sing and Talk — and It Already Has the Mona Lisa Lip-Syncing

The VASA-1 AI model was not trained on the Mona Lisa but could animate it anyway.