According to Financial Times, Nongfu Spring founder Zhong Shanshan’s net worth has hit $58.7 billion after a massive listing by the bottled water company in Hong Kong, according to Bloomberg estimates that makes him richer than Mr. Ma, whose fortune dipped to $56.7bn after shares in e-commerce group Alibaba fell 0.9 percent in New York on Wednesday.
The company raised nearly $1.1 billion in its initial public offering.
Zhong is also the chairman of Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Co. Ltd., a vaccine manufacturer listed on the mainland in April.
It is developing a Covid-19 vaccine nasal spray in conjunction with a prominent university.
Zhong, a 66-year-old former reporter from Zhejiang who state media say was also once a construction worker, is often referred to by Chinese media as a “lone wolf” for his rare public appearances and reluctance to be interviewed.
He founded Nongfu in 1996, just as China’s bottled water market began to take off.