- According to Bloomberg Billionaires Index Zhong’s net worth increased by US$70.9 billion this year to US$77.8 billion
- It is one of the fastest accumulations of wealth in history, and he was little known outside of China until this year
- With US$77.8 billion in his kitty, Zhong Shanshan becomes 11th richest person in the world, dethroning Mukesh Ambani
A private billionaire, Zhong Shanshan is rarely quoted in the press.
Now, after an unlikely career spanning journalism, mushroom farming and health care, he has become the richest person in Asia, eclipsing Mukesh Ambani of India and a group of Chinese tech titans including Jack Ma.
Going by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Zhong Shanshan’s net worth increased from $70.9 billion in the year 2020 to $77.8 billion, which now makes him the 11th richest person living on Earth at the time of writing this article.
It’s one of the quickest wealth accumulations in history, and all the more impressive given that he was little known outside of China until this year.
Zhong, 66, is not interested in politics and his business interests are not connected to other wealthy families, such as property tycoons, which is why he is known as the “Lone Wolf” locally.
He owes his success to two fields that are unrelated. In April, he took Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise Co. vaccine maker public, then months later, a bottled water maker Nongfu Spring Co. became one of Hong Kong’s hottest listings. Since their debut, Nongfu shares have soared 155 percent, and Wantai’s are up more than 2,000 percent.
Ambani, too, has had an exceptional year, despite the global pandemic – striking deals to turn his Reliance Industries Ltd. into a titan in the technology and e-commerce sector – and seeing his fortune grow by $18.3 billion attaining a net worth of $76.9 billion.
While Ambani was the fourth-richest person in the world at one point, his Reliance’s shares have stalled as he comes under pressure to deliver on the digital transformation he has promised.
Meanwhile, after analysts from Citigroup Inc. said the company has solidified its market supremacy and has sufficient cash flow, Nongfu stock reached a high this week. Among those who are developing a Covid-19 vaccine is Zhong’s other company, Wantai.
As China’s tech giants have fallen under intensified government scrutiny, Zhong has also scaled the ranks. Jack Ma who was the richest person in Asia before Ambani dethroned him in 2020, is now worth $51.2 billion, down by $ 10.5 billion from an October high of $61.7 billion.