Splash for bottled-water king amid TikTok shake-up

Finance | Karen Ng 28 Oct 2021

Zhong Shanshan, founder of bottled water company Nongfu Spring, has leapfrogged to the top of Hurun's China Rich List 2021, with ByteDance's Zhang Yiming in second place.

The 67-year-old "bottled-water king" Zhong has a personal wealth of 390 billion yuan (HK$474 billion), thanks to the surge in market value of his listed companies - Nongfu Spring and Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy.

Zhang, also the richest self-made billionaire under 40, tripled his wealth to shoot up 28 places to second with 340 billion yuan.

Zhang is a candidate to become the next richest in China, especially if he gets to list ByteDance - developer of TikTok - said Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman of Hurun Report.

Electric vehicle battery maker CATL chairman Zeng Yuqun climbed 21 places to No 3 with a tripled wealth of 320 billion yuan as new-energy entrepreneurs - powered by the nation's carbon-reduction targets - became eight of the 10 fastest risers.

The antitrust clampdown has seen many tycoons drop down the list.

Alibaba's Jack Ma Yun and his family fell to fifth after holding the top spot three years in a row. Ma lost 36 percent of his wealth - now down to 255 billion yuan - after the suspension of Ant Group's public listing and the record fine slapped on Alibaba for monopolistic behavior.

Tencent's Pony Ma Huateng fell two places to fourth. Pinduoduo's Colin Huang Zheng, Great Wall Motor's Wei Jianjun and Han Xuejuan, Hong Kong magnate Li Ka-shing and his family, Midea's He Xiangjian and family, SF Express' Wang Wei rounded out the top 10.

Li was eighth with 215 billion yuan as the list included billionaires from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau for the first time since its launch in 1999.

Richard Li Tzar-kai, Li's younger son who owns PCCW and insurance company FWD, was at No 155 with 38 billion yuan.

The curbs on the real estate sector saw China Evergrande chairman Xu Jiayin, who topped the list in 2017, fall to 70 from fifth last year. His wealth shrank around 70 percent, leaving him with 73 billion yuan.

Developer, Wang Wenxue of China Fortune Land, lost 88 percent of his wealth, now down 6 billion yuan.


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