New Delhi: Reliance Industries (RIL) Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani is no longer Asia’s richest person as Chinese billionaire Zhong Shanshan has succeeded over the title. After leading an improbable career spanning journalism, mushroom farming and health care, founder of China’s largest bottled water company Nongfu Spring, Shanshan has become Asia’s richest person dethroning India’s Mukesh Ambani and leaving behind a group of Chinese tech titans including Jack Ma, said a Bloomberg report. Also Read - Rahul Gandhi Dares Narendra Modi to Engage in Debate on Rafale, Says Prime Minister Will be Unable to Answer His Questions
As per the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Shanshan’s net worth has surged $70.9 billion this year to $77.8 billion, making him the 11th-richest person on the planet. It’s one of the fastest accumulations of wealth in history, and all the more remarkable considering that until this year he was little known outside of China. Also Read - Rafale Row: Rahul Gandhi Alleges Prime Minister Narendra Modi Increased Benchmark Price of Fighter Jets By Approximately Rs 22 Crore
Shanshan, 66, isn’t involved in politics and his business interests aren’t entwined with other rich families such as the property tycoons, which is why he’s known locally as the “Lone Wolf.” Also Read - Rafale Row: 'Those Levelling Accusations Are Illiterate', Says VK Singh
He owes his success to two unrelated fields. He took vaccine maker Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise Co. public in April, then months later Nongfu Spring Co., a maker of bottled water, became one of Hong Kong’s hottest listings. Nongfu shares have jumped 155% since their debut, and Wantai’s are up more than 2000%.
Ambani has also had an extraordinary year — striking deals to transform his conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd. into a technology and e-commerce titan — and seeing his fortune surge $18.3 billion to $76.9 billion.
While Ambani was at one point the world’s fourth-richest person, shares of his Reliance have stalled as he comes under pressure to deliver on the digital transformation he’s promised.
Meanwhile, Nongfu stock hit a peak this week after Citigroup Inc. analysts said the company has solidified its market dominance and enjoys ample cash flow. Shanshan’s other company, Wantai, is among those developing a Covid-19 vaccine.
Shanshan has also climbed the ranks as China’s tech companies have tumbled among increased government scrutiny. Jack Ma, Asia’s richest person before Ambani took over this year, is now worth $51.2 billion, down from a high of $61.7 billion in October.