Bottled-Water, Vaccine Tycoon Zhong Shanshan is China’s Richest Man

But Alibaba’s Jack Ma is expected to reclaim top spot with Ant Group’s upcoming dual IPO

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Image Source: Nongfu Spring

The fortune of Nongfu Spring founder and vaccine tycoon Zhong Shanshan grew to $58.7 billion making him the current wealthiest person in China.

At a time when tech giants have been suffering losses, Zhong’s net income has grown $2 billion more than Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma, based on the latest listing by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. His fortune also grew by as much as $3.8 billion this year.

Often called “The Lone Wolf” due to his more reclusive and often less felt presence among China’s richest business groups and circles, Zhong is now Asia’s second wealthiest man after Reliance Industries founder Mukesh Ambani from India. He is also currently ranked 17th richest in Bloomberg’s list of 500 billionaires.

In another top billionaires’ listing this time by Forbes, the 66-year-old Zhong Shanshan is also currently ranked 17th in the world Billionaires List above Ma Huateng at 18th place while Jack Ma is at 22nd place.

Chinese bottled water giant Nongfu Spring’s shares also soared as much as 85 percent during its debut earlier this month after the company’s $1.1 billion Hong Kong IPO also attracted a record level demand further boosting the low-profile billionaire’s fortune. Nongfu’s stock price started at $2.77 and surged to $5.14 during its IPO with around $387 million changing hands on the company’s first trading day at the market.

Nongfu Spring products have been very popular in mainland China. Nongfu Spring Photo

As the man behind China’s most popular bottled water, the bulk of Zhong Shanshan’s fortune comes from his bottled water empire and healthcare business as compared to the numerous tech billionaires from mainland China. With the ongoing tech war between China and the United States, his fortune soared over tech billionaires like Tencent’s Ma Huateng and ByteDance’s Zhang Yiming.

 

Zhong Shanshan-owned companies IPOs boosts his net worth

Zhong’s fortune also grew by $50 billion in 2020 after his popular bottled-water business Nongfu Spring went on an IPO this September. His other investments in the vaccine industry particularly in the Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy also went public last April further increasing his net worth by as much as $20 billion.

China’s wealthiest list has become a source of fascination to many financial experts as several Chinese businessmen coming from the tech, real estate, and healthcare have been appearing every year either doubling or tripling their net worth due to a slew of IPOs of various companies in the country.

The Nongfu Spring founder’s rein on the top of China’s wealthiest list, however, might be short-lived as Alibaba’s Jack Ma is expected to reclaim the top spot as his financial services arm Ant Group will be conducting dual IPOs in Shanghai’s Star Market and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in October.

Ma is expected to gain as much as $30 billion from the $250 billion valuations that Ant Group is expected to gain once public offering rolls out.


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JM Agreda is a freelance journalist for more than 12 years writing for numerous international publications, research journals, and news websites. He mainly covers business, tech, transportation, and political news for Businessner.