As head of China’s leading air-conditioning company (2010 revenue: $9.2 billion), Dong Mingzhu has revolutionized retail practices in her home country, where, before Gree, stores typically did not pay for merchandise until it was sold. The selfmade millionaire, who’s known for dropping bon mots such as “I’ll rest when I retire,” is also famously kind to her employees, who get 24 weeks of paid maternity leave, double what the law requires.
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