Stories, Taoke (Business)

Meet the man who snatched Jack Ma’s richest billionaire spot in China

This man is no other than Zhong Shanshan, a self-made billionaire who founded Nongfu Spring, a well-known brand of bottled water in China.

Photo from Instagram | @businessinsiderit

If you haven’t heard the news yet, Zhong Shanshan has grabbed Jack Ma’s spot in being China’s richest man with his net worth of $58.7 billion (P2.8 trillion) in the Bloomberg Billionaires index. This is $2 billion more than Jack Ma’s $56.7 billion, as of September 23, 2020. But, how did he attain this spot?  

Zhong Shanshan’s life was not as easy as it seems. 

Image obtained from Unsplash


Despite him being born into a wealthy family, he had to drop out in grade school due to the Cultural Revolution. In his teens, he worked as a mason’s and a carpenter’s apprentice. 

Zhong eventually went back to school and decided to be a reporter. However, he resigned after seeing the business opportunity in China and began pursuing different business projects in Hainan.

Zhong took a leap of faith.

Photo from Instagram | @tracywu42 


Although some of his projects failed, it did not stop him. In 1996, Zhong founded the predecessor of what is now known as Nongfu Springs, which became a hit in China for promoting its natural water. The company eventually grew and began to sell a variety of items such as tea and energy juices. 

Aside from Nongfu Springs, he is also the chairman of Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy, which was valued at $171 million (P8.2 billion) in 2019. 

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