Yang Huiyan, a 26-year-old woman worth $16.2 billion, is the Chinese mainland's richest person, topping a list of tycoons whose wealth has soared amid a boom in stock and property prices, the business magazine Forbes said yesterday. She is also Asia's richest woman.

Huiyan's fotune is based on shares in Country Garden Holdings Ltd, a real estate developer founded by her father, Forbes said. The company's Hong Kong stock market debut this year made billionaires of Yang and four other people.

Yang graduated from Ohio State University. Four years ago, she took over management of the company while her father sought medical treatment in the U.S.

At that time, she was only 22 years old, but she brought a new management team from the U.S with her, almost entirely replacing the old one.

Now, as the managing director, Yang takes charge of purchasing, resource management, and building and guiding new strategic company initiatives.

Yang also represents an unusual case of second-generation wealth in China, most of whose richest people are self-made entrepreneurs still in their 30s and 40s.

Her net worth was more than seven times that of last year's richest mainland person, appliance retailer Gome's Huang Guangyu, who was worth $2.3 billion. Huang, also known as Wong Kwong-yu, dropped to No 10 on this year's list, even though his net worth rose by more than 50 percent to $3.6 billion.

In second place was another developer, Hui Wing Mau, with a net worth of $7.3 billion. No 3 was Guo Guangchang, chairman of a manufacturing, retailing and real estate conglomerate, Fosun Group, with a fortune of $4.85 billion.