Who is the richest man in China? While at first most people would think of Jack Ma, the current richest man is Zhong Shanshan with an estimated $95.0 billion net worth, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires
Known as the “Lone Wolf” due to his low involvement in business groups or politics in China, Zhong Shan Shan is the chairman of the bottle-water company “Nongfu Spring”, and until recently, he also held a position in the Board of the vaccine maker company Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy.
The humble origins
Born in 1954 in Hangzhou, in Eastern China’s Zhejiang province, Mr. Zhong dropped out of elementary school during the tumultuous Cultural Revolution. Before he made his fortune, the Chinese entrepreneur was an odd-job labourer: he first worked as a contraction worker and later as a newspaper reporter. Mr. Zhong attempted several business ventures: he founded his own newspaper, he tried growing mushrooms, and he tried selling curtains.
The turning point, however, was in 1996. ShanShan founded the bottled-water company “NongFu Spring“, which over the years has expanded its product line to other bottled beverages, like tea and juices. Nowadays, the company’s brand is China’s most well-known brand in the consumption and Fast-Moving Cosuer Goods (FMCG) sectors. Indeed, “NongFu” spring has over 13% of market shares in the Chinese bottle-water market.
The rise to the top?
At the beginning of 2020, Zhong ShanShan had already reached an impressive milestone, with a wealth worth around $7 billion. Furthermore, during the year, the Chinese businessman’s net worth rose once again by tens of billions, after he took Wantai public in April at the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE). Not only that, he later had the IPO of
Nongfu Spring at the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong (SEHK) in September, through which the company raised more than $1 billion, with its stock surging up to +85% from the offering price, before closing at +53%.
Over the last 5 months, Nongfu Spring’s stock price soared more than 80%. This meant that Mr. Zhong’s wealth also increased. He surpassed Jack Ma in September and the Indian businessman Mukesh Amabni in December, thus becoming the richest man both in Mainland China and in Asia. Currently, Mr. Zhong is also in the podium of the richest man in the world, according to Forbes Real-time Billionaires ranking.
Credits to: Antony Wu