Female Entrepreneur’s Ascent To Lenovo Board Highlights Gender Gap In China Tech


Lenovo Group, one of world’s top computer makers, has appointed media entrepreneur and broadcast journalist Yang Lan as an independent non-executive director, effective May 15the company said on Friday.

Yang became the only women on Lenovo’s 11-person board of directors. Though former China Communist Party leader Mao Zedong famously said, “Women hold up half of the sky,” Yang’s appointment underscores a frequent gender imbalance on boards at the country’s largest technology companies.  

For instance, Internet heavyweight Tencent Holdings, whose CEO Ma Huateng is China’s richest man, has only one female — Ke Yang — on its nine-member board, according to its latest annual report.  Alibaba Group, whose main founder Jack Ma is currently China’s second-richest man, has only one female —  Wan Ling Martello – on its 11-member board, according to its website.  And e-commerce site Pinduoduo, whose chairman Colin Huang is China’s third-richest man, has no females on its board.  

Lenovo previously had an all-male board after the death of then-director Ma Xuezheng last year. Ma had been with Lenovo since 1990.

Yang, 52, is the co-founder and chairperson of Sun Media Group, whose business include programs and integrated marketing involving film and television, education, publishing, entertainment and sports across mainland China, Hong Kong and the United States. Yang was previously a member of Forbes’ ranking of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women. She appeared on the Nov. 27, 2000 cover of Forbes Global. Yang’s Sun Culture Foundation is active in education and philanthropy.

Yang holds an undergraduate degree in English language and literature from Beijing Foreign Studies University and a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University in New York.  She’s currently a Global Ambassador for the Special Olympics Movement, a member of Lincoln Center President’s Council, and a vice-president and board member of the China Charity Alliance.

Lenovo, which has 57,000 employees globally, appointed Yang to a three-year term. For the financial year ended March 31, non-executive directors received $330,000 a year — cash fees of $100,000 and equity rights worth $230,000.

Lenovo’s other board members are Yang Yuanqing, Lenovo’s chairman and CEO, Zhu Linan, John Zhao, Nicholas C. Allen, Nobuyuki Idei, William O. Grabe, William Brown, Jerry Yang, Gordon Orr, and Raymond Woo. 


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