Nongfu Spring IPO Pop Briefly Makes Bottled Water Entrepreneur China’s Richest Man

(Updates earlier post with Nongfu Spring’s closing price)

Chinese businessman Zhong Shanshan had already done well for himself on the 2020 Forbes Billionaires List published in April. He ranked at No. 1,063 with a fortune of $2 billion, mainly from his holding in Nongfu Spring, which controls about a quarter of China’s bottled water market.

What a year it’s been. Zhong, 65, added to that in a big way through a Shenzhen IPO in June by Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise, in which he is the largest shareholder.  Zhong’s stake there is now worth $10 billion.

Then today, Nongfu Spring soared upon listing in Hong Kong. At an early-morning trading price of HK$39.20, Zhong’s total fortune was worth nearly $59 billion, exceeding $57 billion for Internet heavyweight Ma Huateng and $51 billion for Alibaba’s Jack Ma, making Zhong China’s richest man.

Nongfu’s shares closed at HK$33.10, leaving him with a total fortune of $50 billion, still enough to rank among China’s top three richest. Nongfu’s IPO price was HK$21.50 per share.

Nongfu’s IPO is another big success this year for the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, which has also attracted a secondary listing by JD.com among other large listings.

– with Elaine Mao

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