Soft drinks maker tops China rich list
The founder of China's largest soft drinks maker Wahaha, Zong Qinghou, has become the country's richest person with a fortune of 12 billion dollars, according to a new list published Wednesday.
Zong, 65, leapt 11 places to top the Hurun Rich List, said Rupert Hoogewerf, founder of the Shanghai-based Hurun Report, which publishes the annual list of the richest Chinese with personal wealth of at least 150 million dollars.
Zong's climb up the rankings comes a year after French food giant Danone ended its long-standing feud with Wahaha, by agreeing to sell its 51 percent stake in their joint ventures.
Danone had accused Zong of breaching an agreement after he set up an entire production and distribution network in parallel to the French firm's joint ventures with Wahaha.
Li Li, 36, and his family were catapulted into second place with a fortune of six billion dollars after their little-known pharmaceutical company Hepalink listed on the domestic stock exchange in May.
Hepalink, which produces a blood thinner called heparin, listed 40.1 million shares, or about 10 percent of the company, at 148 yuan (22 dollars) each, according to statements filed to the stock exchange.
The price was equivalent to 73 times Hepalink's 2009 earnings and marked the most expensive listing price ever for a Chinese stock, the official Xinhua news agency said. At the time, Li and his wife held a 72-percent stake.
Zhang Yin, the woman who founded paper-recycling company Nine Dragons Paper and China's richest person in 2006, slipped to third place from second in 2009 even though her wealth grew by almost a billion dollars to 5.6 billion dollars.
Despite her fall, Zhang remains the richest woman in China.
Wang Chuanfu, the founder of Chinese battery and electric car maker BYD and last year's richest person thanks to US billionaire investor Warren Buffett, fell to 12th place after his fortune shrank 10 percent to 4.6 billion dollars.
Buffett, who hosted a banquet on Wednesday for China's super-rich along with software magnate Bill Gates, paid 230 million dollars for a 10 percent stake in BYD in September last year.
The complete Hurun Rich List will be released in October, according to Hoogewerf.