• Soho China chairman Pan Shiyi, left, with wife Zhang Xin, CEO of Soho China, attend a press conference in Hong Kong on March 13, 2009. (Lo Ka Fai/China Photos, via Getty)

    Boss Ladies

    Get Married to Get Ahead in China

    China’s richest businesswomen are often still tied to the fortunes of their husbands.

    Why are marriage and business so intertwined in China?

    Chinese has a word, laobanniang, or “boss lady,” that originally meant “the boss’s wife.” Eventually, it came to be used for female bosses as well. But, because businesses in China tend to be run by husband-and-wife pairs, “boss lady” often implies, “the boss’s wife who runs the business.”