A few days ago, Zhong Shanshan eclipsed Mukesh Ambani to become the richest Asian. Shanshan is neither a tech giant nor the head of a multinational corporation or a large pharma group. Then who is he? Chinese billionaire Zhong Shanshan is one of the most unique billionaires in the world. His finance comes from being the chairman of two major companies — ‘Nongfu Spring’, a bottled water manufacturer, and ‘Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise’, a manufacturer of vaccines and hepatitis test-kits. Shanshan’s vaccine manufacturer is also involved in developing COVID-19 vaccines.
Shanshan’s business career is extraordinary. Who would believe that a person can become a billionaire by selling bottled water? It is strange and interesting to know that the richest person in China is engaged in such a business. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Zhong’s total assets rose $ 70.9 billion this year to $ 77.8 billion, making him the 11th richest man in the world.
Although Nongfu sells bottled tea and juice, Shanshan became king in China and now Asia through the sale of bottled water. Nongfu bottled water became famous in China when the people of China were distressed over polluted water from Chinese rivers. Zhong’s achievement, although short-term, reached him by selling bottled water.
Born in Hangzhou in 1954, Shanshan’s life itself was nothing short of a revolution. A victim of the anarchy created by the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China, Zhong Shanshan dropped education at primary school. He later resumed it and completed studies at the Open University of China. After education, he became a construction worker. He also worked as a journalist before founding a pharmaceutical company in the 1980s. In the meantime, tried his luck in mushroom farming. Nongfu Spring was founded in 1996. Today, he is the company’s executive chairman and directly manages sales, branding and human resources.
Zhong’s dream journey kickstarted with the public listing of Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise in April. The stock rose to 155% since its inception. Nongfu’s listing was described as ‘stock market blockbuster’. Shares of the vaccine company rose to more than 2,000%. Overnight, Shanshan became the third richest man in China. Today, Shanshan is the richest man in China, surpassing Alibaba’s Jack Ma and others.
The 66-year-old billionaire is nicknamed ‘Lone Wolf’ in China. Because he does not comply with the systematic rules of the business world and is not linked to political alliances or big business groups. The Chinese media say he does not appear in public or speak to the media. “I am a solitary person, and I do not care what my colleagues are doing or thinking, “Shanshan once said about himself. Zhong is an inspiration for those who seek to be the hero from the scratch.