During the turmoil of the Chinese cultural Revolution, it wasn’t an uncommon sight when a 12-year old young boy dropped out of school because his parents were persecuted by the authorities. But little did anyone know, that this young boy would one day become Asia’s richest person.

Zhong’s Shanshan tried his hands at jobs in various fields such as journalism, construction, beverage sales, mushroom farming and health care. Later he decided to start his own company, and that is when his story turned from rags to riches.

The turning point in his career came in April 2020, when his firm ‘Beijing Wantai Biological pharmacy enterprise Co.’ went public, and months later his firm Nongfu spring Co., a bottled water manufacturer and China’s largest beverage company became one of the hottest listings in Hong Kong.

Zhong’s firm, Wantai, is among those developing a COVID-19 Vaccine. While Zhong’s bottled water company Nongfu spring Co, headquartered in Hangzhou in China’s Zhejiang province, is Hong Kong’s most popular one among retail investors.

Nongfu shares have jumped 155% since their debut, and Wantai’s are up more than 2,000%. In what is being called as ‘one of the fastest accumulation of wealth in history,’ Zhong’s business surged from $70.9 billion to $77.8 billion this year.

According to the Bloomberg billionaires index, Zhong’s net worth has grown massively during 2020, making him the 11th- richest person on the planet. The former journalist has now surpassed India’s Mukesh Ambani and China’s tech titans including Jack Ma.

Mukesh Ambani was at one point the world’s fourth richest person. While his fortune surged by more than $16.4 billion this year, the shares of his Reliance Industries Ltd. Have stalled due to mounting pressure to deliver on the digital transformation he promised.

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