(Yicai Global) March 6 -- Chu Shijian, formerly known as China's 'Tobacco King" and founder of Yunnan-based fruit brand Chu Orange, has passed away at the age of 91, state-backed news outlet The Paper reported.
Born in 1928, Chu was a well-known Chinese entrepreneur who once served as chairman at Hongta Tobacco Group and Yuxi Hongta Tobacco Group. He built Hongtashan into a respected tobacco brand in the country. Yuxi Cigarette was transformed into a large-scale firm under his leadership.
Chu was sentenced to life imprisonment for embezzlement and corruption in 1999 before being released in 2001 after health issues.
He started an orange business with his wife and 10 years later achieved an annual output of 10,000 tons and CNY60 million (USD9 million) in profit. His transition from tobacco to oranges garnered him much respect among the Chinese population.
Editor: William Clegg