(Yicai) Oct. 26 -- Zhong Shanshan, founder of bottle water giant Nongfu Spring, has held onto his crown as China’s richest person for the third straight year, according to the 2023 Hurun China Rich List.
Zhong is worth CNY450 billion (USD61.5 billion), almost the same as last year and over one-and-a-half times that of the runner up, Pony Ma, the founder of internet giant Tencent Holdings, according to the list released by the Hurun Research Institute on Oct. 24.
Ma’s wealth swelled by 30 percent to CNY280 billion (USD38.2 billion), propelling him up the list five places to rank second.
Huang Zheng, founder of e-retailer Pinduoduo, entered the top three for the first time from 10th place last year. He logged the fastest growing wealth, soaring 59 percent from a year earlier to CNY270 billion.
Zhong’s wealth has been stable for the past three years and Nongfu Spring is performing well. Net profit surged 25 percent in the first half year on year to CNY5.8 billion (USD795 million) while revenue soared 23 percent to CNY20.5 billion, according to the beverage maker's latest earnings report.
Nongfu Spring has maintained a gross profit margin of between 53 percent and 60 percent from 2012 to 2022, indicating high profitability. The Hangzhou-based company’s stock price is basically the same as the same period last year with a market capitalization of CNY490 billion (USD67 billion).
Nongfu Spring has dominated China’s bottled water market since 2021 with a 26.5 percent share, according to the 2022 JD Supermarket Mineral Water Consumption Trend Report. It is followed by C'estbon with 21.3 percent, Master Kong with 10.1 percent, Wahaha with 9.9 percent, Ganten with 7.4 percent and Ice Dew with 5.3 percent.
The 2023 list was comprised of 1,241 billionaires with a personal wealth over CNY5 billion (USD683 million), 64 fewer than last year. Their combined wealth tumbled 4 percent year on year to CNY23.5 trillion (USD3.2 trillion).
Editor: Kim Taylor