China’s richest man worth $94.1 billion earned a fortune from selling bottled water

Olumide Adesina

The current seventh richest man on earth is Zhong Shanshan, the chairman of bottled water company, Nongfu Spring, with a $94.1 billion net worth, thanks to an exponential rise in his company’s share price.

The Chinese-born billionaire is now the richest man in the world’s second-largest economy. His wealth has surpassed that of Chinese tech tycoons like co-founder and chief executive officer of Tencent Holdings, Ma Huateng ($74.3 billion); Pinduoduo founder, Colin Huang ($69.3 billion); and Alibaba founder, Jack Ma ($54.9 billion).

What you must know: His current wealth is estimated to be worth 51.8 million troy ounces of gold, which could buy 1.49 billion barrels of crude oil.

The Hong Kong-listed company went public in September 2020; its share price has more than tripled in value in about five months.

  • According to Nongfu Spring’s offering prospectus, the 66-year-old Chinese billionaire owns a massive 84.4% of the company; he and his wife’s extended family own an additional 6.2% combined, and 63 other investors, current and past employees and experts, own a collective 6%.
  • The leading Chinese beverage maker became publicly traded in Hong Kong at the end of Q3, 2020. The self-made billionaire also has a stake through investment vehicles, Hangzhou Youfu and Yangshengtang, according to the company’s prospectus for IPO.

In addition, Zhong Shanshan has a majority stake in publicly traded Beijing Wantai Pharmacy Enterprise, a vaccine and hepatitis test-kit maker in the world’s second-largest economy.

“I used to be a journalist. I know exactly what goes on to the front page. On the other hand, it (the sudden shift in strategy) also harmed us, as the day before the announcement, we were still making purified water,” Zhong told China Daily in 2016.

“I don’t like making friends with business-people. In the business world, I want it to be just business,” he said.

Nongfu Spring Co. Ltd. develops and produces bottled mineral water, sports drinks, fruit juice, and tea drinks. The China-based company also offers barreled mineral water door-to-door services.


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