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Bottled water tycoon Zhong Shanshan becomes China’s wealthiest person

·2-min read
Zhong Shanshan is now also the 19th richest person globally (Rex Features)
Zhong Shanshan is now also the 19th richest person globally (Rex Features)

Chinese businessman Zhong Shanshan, who made his fortune selling bottled water, has topped the billionaires’ list in China, trumping titans like Jack Ma.

Mr Shanshan of Nongfu Spring is now the richest man in China with a wealth worth over $60bn and has moved up two spots previously held by Alibaba founder Mr Ma and Tencent founder Pony Ma, according to the Hurun China Rich List which monitors the wealth of entrepreneurs.

A calculation by Forbes shows that Mr Shanshan’s real-time net worth stood at £48.2bn ($66.4bn) as of 27 October in 2021, surging by a total of $1.4bn in just 24 hours.

Mr Shanshan is also the 19th richest person globally. He was ranked as the third richest man holding a fortune worth £39.1bn ($53.9 bn) in China last year by Forbes.

China’s richest man now also owns the vaccine firm Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise, which after going public last year, helped his wealth boom.

A severe crackdown on tech giants by Beijing has reflected in Mr Ma’s declined ranking and wealth as he fell to the fourth spot on the list. He was previously China and Asia’s richest man for several years.

His wealth now stands at £30.3bn ($41.7bn), down from £47.6bn ($65.6bn) in 2020, the list shows.

This is dubbed as a direct outcome of his critical speech on China’s financial regulators. In a domino effect, Mr Ma’s Alibaba has gone on to suffer a serious setback in market value, losing more than $300bn.

The list, released annually, has been prepared by the Shanghai-based research and investment firm Hurun Research Institute. In a departure from previous lists, the institute has included Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, bringing 197 more names to the list.

In one of the biggest losses included in the list, real estate giant China Evergrande’s founder Hui Ka Yan slipped from fifth spot and landed at the 70th after his enterprise suffered a setback in the recent debt crisis which has left the firm tethering on the verge of collapse.

Mr Yan’s wealth has been valued at £821m ($11.3bn) after he lost £18.1bn ($25bn) in the past year.

A total of 520 people with a wealth running to the tune of £22.5m ($310m) have entered the list, which has nearly 3,000 people now.

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