Zhong Shanshan

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Zhong Shanshan
Zhong Shanshan
Born1954 (age 68–69)
Hangzhou, China
Known forFounder, Nongfu Spring
Owner, Wantai

Zhong Shanshan (Chinese: 钟睒睒; pinyin: Zhōng Shǎnshǎn, born December 1954) is a Chinese billionaire businessman.

He is the founder and chairperson of the Nongfu Spring beverage company, and the majority owner of Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise.[1]

As of 2022, he is the wealthiest Chinese citizen with a net worth of $62.3 billion[2].[3] His source of wealth is mainly beverages and pharmaceuticals.[4]

Early life[edit]

Zhong was born in Hangzhou in 1954.[5] He dropped out of primary school during the Cultural Revolution[1] and found work in construction. In 1977, he enrolled at what is now the Zhejiang Radio & TV University studying Chinese. Zhong was a journalist at the Zhejiang Daily before quitting in 1988 to enter business. In 1988, Zhong moved to Hainan, an island off the coast of southern China. He sold mushrooms, prawns, and turtles during his time on the island.[6] He then went on to work at the Wahaha beverage company as a sales agent, and sold healthcare supplements.[5]


In 1996, Zhong founded a bottled water company in Hangzhou,[5] which later became Nongfu Spring. In 1999, Nongfu Spring stopped removing natural minerals from its water. This was a savvy marketing move and greatly helped increase exposure to their target audience. It was popular in China, where distilled water was the norm at the time, despite many worrying about its health benefits, or lack thereof.[6] Under Zhong's leadership, the company grew to be the largest bottled water maker in China, as well as one of the largest beverage companies in the world. The company beat out behemoths in the industry such as Coca-Cola, Watsons, and Pepsi to become the best-selling package beverage brand. Zhong took advantage of new technologies such as cloud computing and big data in order to gain a key advantage in understanding Nongfu Spring's customer base.[7] This allowed for unparalleled market expansion across the country and transformed this once humble company into a leviathan of epic proportions. According to Nielsen research data, Nongfu Springs natural water became the most popular bottled water in the country in 2012.[8] Starting in 2012, Nongfu Spring was the number one seller of packaged beverages in China. It maintained this dominance for 8 consecutive years.[9]

Nongfu Spring's initial public offering in September 2020 massively increased Zhong's wealth. It expanded his fortune from 18.9 billion dollars to over 50 billion dollars.[10] This made him China's wealthiest or second-wealthiest person, according to Bloomberg and Forbes respectively.[11][5] At the end of 2020, Forbes listed Zhong as Asia's wealthiest person. In January 2021, Forbes reported that the increasing share price of Nongfu Spring made him China's wealthiest person and the world's sixth wealthiest person, with a net worth of 95 billion dollars. However he was only shortly the wealthiest Asian but was overtaken by Mukesh Ambani of India.[1] His rise came alongside a wave of wealth in China, where over 100 billionaires were minted in 2020, adding 0.5 trillion dollars to their wealth, collectively. However he lost over 30 billion US dollars and ranks 3rd in Asia's wealthiest behind Ambani and Gautam Adani, both Indians.[12] By September 2020, Zhong owned a 75% stake in Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy.[5] Wantai went public in April 2020,[1] which increased Zhong's wealth and added to his fortune.[11] As of January 2021, he owned 84.4% of Nongfu Spring and was the company's chairperson.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Zhong maintains a low public profile, and has been called a "lone wolf" by Chinese media.[11][13] He purchased an apartment in Xihu District, Hangzhou, where he primarily resides.[14] Nongfu Spring's headquarters are also located in Xihu district, which is known for its proximity to the city's scenic West Lake. Zhong is married to Lu Xiaoping, and they have three children together.


  1. ^ a b c d e Wang, Jennifer (5 January 2021). "China's Bottled Water Mogul Gains $5 Billion In One Day, Becomes World's Sixth Richest Person". Forbes. Archived from the original on 15 January 2021. Retrieved 15 January 2021.
  2. ^ FLANNERY", "RUSSELL. "China's 100 Richest 2022". Forbes. Retrieved 30 November 2022.
  3. ^ Choi, Martin (27 October 2021). "Evergrande, Alibaba bosses slip as bottled water king tops China rich list". South China Morning Post.
  4. ^ "Zhong Shanshan". Forbes. Retrieved 29 October 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Bricklayer To Billionaire: China's Second-Richest and Asia's 1st richest Man Rose From Rags To Extreme Riches—But Will It Last?". Forbes. Archived from the original on 25 September 2020. Retrieved 24 September 2020.
  6. ^ a b "China's richest man Zhong Shanshan tried journalism, farmed prawns and sold turtle pills before founding Nongfu Spring water". TODAYonline. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  7. ^ "Case Study: Technology Innovation Enables Nongfu Spring To Strengthen Market Leadership". www.forrester.com. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  8. ^ "农夫山泉|Nongfu Spring|農夫山泉". www.nongfuspring.com. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  9. ^ "Nongfu Spring: Drinking Water Leader - Initiate with Buy [1/3]". EqualOcean. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  10. ^ "Bloomberg Billionaires Index". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  11. ^ a b c Toh, Michelle. "China has a new richest man". CNN. Archived from the original on 12 October 2020. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  12. ^ Frank, Robert (20 October 2020). "China's billionaires see biggest gains ever, adding more than $1.5 trillion to their fortunes". CNBC. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  13. ^ "Bottled water billionaire unseats Jack Ma as China's richest man". CTV News. 24 September 2020. Archived from the original on 22 January 2021. Retrieved 15 January 2021.
  14. ^ Warren, Katie (19 January 2021). "Inside the low-key life of Asia's new richest man, who's known as the 'lone wolf' and used to be a journalist". Business Insider. Retrieved 28 March 2021.