This Is How a High School Dropout Became a Self-Made Billionaire

Sacha Strebe

Looking at her estimated $7 billion to $10 billion fortune, it's phenomenal we don't know more about Zhou Qunfei. The founder and CEO of Lens Technologies—the world's leading manufacturer of touch screens for companies like Apple and Samsung—had maintained a fairly low profile until a recent interview with The New York Times. The former factory worker grew up in a small Chinese village, lost her mother at age 5, was raised by a father left nearly blind after an industrial accident, and dropped out of school at just 16 years old. Zhou set her mind on success and climbed the ladder until she eventually launched her own glass-refining company that just went public this year. Now she is the most successful self-made female billionaire in the world and has "come to define a new class of female entrepreneurs in China who have built their wealth from nearly nothing." Pretty impressive, right? Scroll down to read some keys to her success via Inc.com.

She Knew What She Wanted From the Start

Even though she dropped out, Zhou was actually "a hard-working and talented student" according to her former middle school teacher, but she had other plans. “I chose to be in business, and I don’t regret it," she said. The conditions were tough, Zhou recalls: “I worked from 8 a.m. to 12 a.m., and sometimes until 2 a.m. There were no shifts, just a few dozen people, and we all polished glass. I didn’t enjoy it.” So after three months she wrote a letter of resignation to her boss, complaining about the hours and boredom. This impressed her boss, who gave her a promotion instead of letting her go. 

She Knows the True Meaning of Hard Work

Lens Technologies operates around the clock with 75,000 employees across three manufacturing plants that each span 800 acres. As a passionate entrepreneur, she personally designs and choreographs almost every step of the process. Zhou says this attention to detail stems from her childhood. "My father had lost his eyesight, so if we placed something somewhere, it had to be in the right spot, exactly, or something could go wrong," she said. "That’s the attention to detail I demand at the workplace.” 

To read more secrets to Zhou's success, visit Inc.com.

Set yourself up for success with great office accessories at our SHOP.

What are your tips for being a self-made success? Share them in the comments.

Opening photo: News Now

Add a Comment

More Stories
1