Zhong Shanshan is a Chinese businessman who was born in December 1954. He is the founder, chairman, and main owner of the Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise as well as the Nongfu Spring beverage company. He is the richest person in China as of 2022, with a net worth of $62.3 billion.His commercial holdings and stakes in the Chinese pharmaceutical and beverage industries are the main source of his fortune.
Early Life And Career
In 1954, Zhong was born in Hangzhou. During the Cultural Revolution, he left primary school and found employment in construction. He enrolled in the now-defunct Zhejiang Radio & TV University in 1977 to study Chinese. Before leaving his employment in 1988 to launch his own company, Zhong worked as a journalist for the Zhejiang Daily. Zhong relocated to the island of Hainan, which is off the coast of southern China, in 1988. While on the island, he traded in turtles, mushrooms, and prawns. He later started working as a sales representative for the Wahaha beverage company, where he marketed health products.
Zhong started a bottled water business in Hangzhou in 1996; this business later changed its name to Nongfu Spring. Nongfu Spring stopped purifying its water of natural minerals in 1999. This was a clever marketing choice that significantly increased their exposure to their target market. Despite many people being concerned about its potential health benefits or lack thereof, it was common in China, where distilled water was the standard at the time. The business expanded under Zhong's direction to become the biggest manufacturer of bottled water in China and one of the biggest beverage manufacturers worldwide. The business outsold industry giants like Coca-Cola, Watsons, and Pepsi to take the top spot for package beverage sales.
Zhong used cutting-edge tools like big data and cloud computing to his advantage in order to better comprehend Nongfu Spring's clientele. As a result, it was able to expand its market reach across the nation and grow into a larger business. Nongfu Springs natural water surpassed all other bottled waters in popularity in 2012, according to Nielsen research. Nongfu Spring became the most popular bottled beverage in China as of 2012. It remained in control for 8 years in a row.
Zhong keeps a low public profile and has been dubbed a "lone wolf" by Chinese media despite his enormous riches and commercial success. He bought an apartment in Hangzhou's Xihu District, where he primarily resides. The headquarters of Nongfu Spring are situated in the Xihu district, which is well-known for being close to the picturesque West Lake of the city. Zhong and Lu Xiaoping are wed, and the two of them have three kids altogether.
The initial public offering of Nongfu Spring in September 2020 greatly enhanced Zhong's net worth. It increased his wealth from $18.9 billion to more than $50 billion. As a result, he became the richest or second-richest person in China, according to Bloomberg and Forbes, respectively. According to Forbes, Zhong will be the richest person in Asia at the end of 2020. According to Forbes, in January 2021, Nongfu Spring's rising share price had elevated him to the sixth-wealthiest position in the world and made him the richest person in China, with a net worth of 95 billion dollars. He was briefly the richest Asian, but Mukesh Ambani of India soon overtook him.
His rise coincided with a wealth-creating boom in China, when more than 100 billionaires were created in 2020, collectively increasing their worth by 0.5 trillion dollars. However, he suffered a loss of almost $30 billion US and falls below the two Indian billionaires Ambani and Gautam Adani in terms of fortune in Asia. Zhong has a 75% share in Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy as of September 2020. Zhong's income and fortune soared after Wantai went public in April 2020. He was the chairman of Nongfu Spring as of January 2021 and held 84.4% of the company's shares.