Beverage giant chief becomes China’s richest man


Beijing : Zong Quinghou, founder and CEO of China’s softdrink giant Hangzhou Wahaha Group, has become the country’s richest man with a fortune of 80 billion yuan (US$12 billion), the Hurun Rich List 2010 has announced.

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Zong pipped last year’s richest man Wang Chuanfu, of car and battery maker BYD Co Ltd. Wang is now 12th on the list with wealth of US$4.6 billion, according to Shanghai Daily.

Hurun Rich List announced the top five wealthiest person Wednesday, and four new faces made the cut. The complete list with all 1,363 names will be released in mid-October.

A total of 1,363 individuals own assets more than 1 billion yuan (US$150 million), up from 1,000 last year. Shanghai is home to 108 billionaires, ranking the fifth in terms of the number of billionaires.

“China probably now has the largest number of billionaires of anywhere in the world,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, founder and compiler of the Hurun Rich List.

“We already know of 189 US-dollar billionaires in China this year, but you can safely say that we have missed at least half again, meaning there are between 400 and 500 US-dollar billionaires.”

“The year 2010 is also the first time in 10 years that a property tycoon has not made the top five,” Hoogewerf said.

Zong, 65, who is touted as “Drinks King”, together with his wife and daughter, owns 60 percent of Wahaha – jumped up from the 12th spot in last year’s list.