Bottled-water tycoon ranked as China's richest man for 2nd straight year
Bottled-water tycoon Zhong Shanshan is rated as China's richest man for the second straight year, according to the newly-released Hurun China Rich List.
Zhong, in his late 60s, is worth US$65 billion. Both of his listed companies, Nongfu Spring mineral water and Wantai Biological Pharmacy, have shown steady growth this year. The latter has tapped into massive demand for COVID-19 test kits. The companies have brought Zhong a 17 percent increase in total fortune compared with last year.
The second- and third-ranked persons on the list also remain the same as last year – Douyin (or TikTok) founder Zhang Yiming (US$35 billion) and Zeng Yuqun (US$32.9 billion) of Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd, or CATL, a battery maker for the new energy vehicle industry, respectively.
Hong Kong-based Li Ka-shing and his family, moved up four places to rank fourth on this year's list with US$31.4 billion. His two main listed companies, CK Hutchison and CK Asset, have expanded their portfolio to include property, retail, telecommunications, infrastructure, ports and energy.
Pony Ma, boss of gaming giant and WeChat owner Tencent, dropped one spot to fifth after his fortune shrank by 32 percent to US$30.7 billion. This came about as a result of restrictions on licensing of gaming and fewer users in its overseas markets, as well as a drop in advertising revenues. But Tencent topped the Hurun China 500 Most Valuable Private Companies 2021, with six shareholders on the rich list this year.
Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma, China's richest man in 2020, dropped to ninth as his fortune declined 29 percent to US$25.7 billion.
The Hurun Research Institute, which compiled the list, said it found 1,305 individuals with a fortune of more than 5 billion yuan (US$710 million), a 11 percent (160 individuals) decrease from last year. A total of 293 individuals dropped off this year's list, led by the real estate and the health-care industry.
"This year has seen the biggest fall in the Hurun China Rich List for the last 24 years," said Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun Report chairman and chief researcher. "Part of the reason has been a global economic downturn, led by the fallout from the Russia-Ukraine war, a sharp drop in tech prices and the generally slow post-COVID economic recovery, but also at the national level, the continued disruptions to the economy from localized COVID-19 outbreaks."
Still, more than 400 entrepreneurs saw their wealth increase over the past year, mainly in the sectors of industrial products, F&B and energy.