Bottled Water Billionaire Unseat Jack Ma to Become China’s Richest
Nongfu Spring, is reported to be China’s biggest producer of bottled water, a feat that has propelled founder Zhong Shanshan to the top of the country’s rich list
A businessman who spun his wealth from bottled water and vaccines has usurped tech tycoon Jack Ma as China’s richest man, the Bloomberg Billionaires Index showed Thursday.
Nongfu Spring founder Zhong Shanshan’s net worth has hit $58.7 billion after a massive listing by the bottled water company in Hong Kong earlier this month.
This makes him $2 billion richer than previous number one, Alibaba founder Jack Ma, the wealth index said.
Zhong’s Nongfu Spring, which claims to be number one in China’s massive bottled water market, is ubiquitous across a country where most people shun tap water for health reasons.
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Zhong Shanshan had to discontinue school during China's Cultural Revolution, then found jobs in construction and journalism before founding a bottled-water company. Now, decades later, he has become China's second-richest man and the third richest in Asia. A double-digit stock surge in his firm Nongfu Spring, which debuted on the Hong Kong stock exchange this week, pushed Zhong's net worth to more than $51 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He's known by the local media as the Lone Wolf and is the only tycoon among China’s five richest people who isn’t from the tech or real estate industry. He’s now the wealthiest person in China after Alibaba’s Jack Ma, and leapfrogged Tencent billionaire Pony Ma. Click the link in bio for more.
Zhong is also the chairman of Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Co. Ltd., a vaccine manufacturer that listed on the mainland in April.
It is developing a Covid-19 vaccine nasal spray in conjunction with a prominent university.
Zhong, a 66-year-old former reporter from Zhejiang who state media say was also once a construction worker, is often referred to by Chinese media as a “lone wolf” for his rare public appearances and reluctance to be interviewed.
He founded Nongfu in 1996, just as China’s bottled water market began to take off.