Mukesh Ambani, move into Asia’s richest man in his two-year reign. And no, Jack Ma, you haven’t claimed that title again. There is a new richest person in Asia for 2021 and it is China’s bottled water billionaire Zhong Shanshan. His net worth increased from $ 70 billion in 2020 to $ 77.8 billion. But Ambani should not worry too much, he is still India’s richest person with assets of $ 76 billion. And besides being the richest in Asia, Ma has a few things to worry about. Primarily, what is now going to be his 56 billion dollar wealth, the Chinese government is targeting him and his empire.
Shanshan has two income streams. The first is Nongfu Spring Bottled Water which had revenues of $ 3.5 billion in 2019. The second is Beijing Wicai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise, which is in the vaccine and hepatitis testing business, with revenues of $ 171 million. Sanshan made both his companies public in 2020. Beijing VY Biological Pharmacy Enterprise on the Shanghai Stock Exchange in April. Nongfu Spring made its $ 1.1 billion IPO in Hong Kong in September. That IPO overnight featured Shanshan as China’s third richest person.
Shanshan is referred to as the Lone Wolf, as he stays out of politics and business groups, and rarely talks to the media or appears in public. Zhong Shanshan was born in Hangzhou, China in 1954 during the Cultural Revolution of China. He dropped out of primary school and attended the Open University of China. He was in the 1980s as a newspaper reporter, manufacture and a beverage vendor before setting up the pharmaceutical company Yangshangung Company Limited. He founded the Nongfu Spring in Qiandai Lake in Zhongjiang Province in 1996. That region of China has the cleanest and largest reservoir in the country. He is the executive chairman of the bottled water company and manages the human resources, sales and branding of the company.
Nongfu Spring’s famous advertising campaign and tag line, “Taste is a little sweet”, have been very popular in China. Nongfu Spring means “Farmer’s Spring” in English. The company promotes its water as natural minerals, separating it from the pure water sold by other companies. 65-year-old Zhong owns 84% of the company. In 2000 Nongfu Spring was found in flavored water, tea and juice. In 2019, it launched its own line of coffee under the Tanning brand.
Through development and acquisitions of other companies, Nongfu Spring has become the largest bottled water producer in China and is in the top three in the bottled juice and tea market. Nongfu Spring has a market value of $ 48 billion, making it a regional leader. For comparison, Coca-Cola has a market cap of $ 249 billion and Pepsi has a valuation of $ 192 billion.
Shanshan’s Beijing Vatai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise manufactures the COVID-19 test kit. The company made its IPO in Shanghai in April. He owns 75% of the company, which is valued at about $ 9.4 billion.