Zhong Shanshan is a private billionaire who is rarely quoted in the press. He has recently turned out to he the Asia’s richest person after an improbable career spanning journalism, mushroom farming and health care, eclipsing India’s Mukesh Ambani and a group of Chinese tech titans including Jack Ma.
Zhong’s net worth has surged $70.9 billion this year to $77.8 billion, making him the 11th-richest person on the planet, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. 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.
He is never involved into politics and his business ideas aren’t entwined with other rich families and hence is locally know as “Lone Wolf”. Zhong 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 2,000%
Striking various deals to transform his company, RIL Ambani has also had an extraordinary year 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.