Zong Qinghou at a press conference. (Photo/Xinhua)
Zong Qinghou, the chairman and CEO of Chinese beverage group Hangzhou Wahaha, has been named the richest person in China after it came to light that he holds a stake in the company that is more than double than previously estimated.
Wahaha spokesperson Dan Qining revealed that Zong holds around an 80% share of the third-largest soft drink producer in China, boosting his estimated net worth to US$21.8 billion, far outstripping the US$13.4 billion of Robin Li, the founder of the country's leading search engine Baidu, who was previously held to be the wealthiest person in China.
Li's personal wealth has shrunk 3.8% year-on-year over the first half of this year, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
That index ranked Zong at No.23 and he was one of three persons from Asia named on the list after Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing at No.14 with US$25 billion and Indian oil and gas firm owner Mukesh Ambani at No.22 with US$21.8 billion.
Wahaha owns over 60 factories across 29 province-level regions in China with business ranging from soft drinks to infant formula and children's clothing.