China’s bottled water czar, Zhong Shanshan has been on a tear in recent weeks. The owner of Hangzhou-based beverage company Nongfu Spring, Shanshan has already surpassed billionaires such as Mukesh Ambani, Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett, Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin, etc., in net worth. In fact, in the past 10 days, Shanshan’s wealth has surged by nearly $20 billion from $77.8 billion as of December 31, 2020, to over $95 billion as of Sunday, according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index. And now, he is short of just $6 billion to eclipse Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg who had a net worth of $101 billion while filing this report. Shanshan’s net worth rally in the recent past indicated that he might pip social media poster boy Zuckerberg in the coming week and join the $100 billion net worth club. The next in line would be Louis Vuitton’s Bernard Arnault – currently the fourth richest person in the world with $117 billion net worth.
The $100 billion wealth club has Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, and Bill Gates, apart from Zuckerberg and Arnault. Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is the only billionaire to cross the $200 billion net worth mark. Nongfu Spring’s shares had surged over 85 per cent to open at Hong Kong (HK) $39.80 on its debut on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on September 8. The shares further surged to HK $54.90 to end 2020 and since then had soared to HK $66.60 on Friday. The company’s market cap was HK $335.31 billion (US $43.19 billion). The company was the market leader in the packaged water segment in China along with being the third-largest company in the tea beverage market in 2019, according to the company citing research from Frost & Sullivan. The retail sales of soft beverages in China in 2019 was worth around $153.1 billion (around 991.4 billion yuan), according to Statista.
According to Hurun Rich List 2020, which was out in October last year, China had 257 new billionaires over the past year that brought the country’s total billionaire count to 878. China’s billionaires had added $1.5 trillion to their wealth with the total worth of these billionaires hitting the $4 trillion mark. Earlier this week, Musk had surpassed Bezos to become the wealthiest person on the planet. As of Sunday, Bezos’ net worth stood at $209 billion in comparison to Bezos’ $186 billion.