A bottled-water and vaccine tycoon has become China’s wealthiest person in a day also marked by massive losses among the world’s tech elite.
Zhong’s net worth has surged $70.9 billion this year to $77.8 billion, making him the 11th-richest person on the planet, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. It’s one of the fastest accumulations of wealth in history, and all the more remarkable considering that until this year he was little known outside of China.
Nicknamed “Lone Wolf" for his eschewing of politics and clubby business groups, Zhong’s fortune has jumped almost $52 billion in 2020, more than anyone else in the world except Amazon.com Inc.’s Jeff Bezos and Tesla Inc.’s Elon Musk. Both suffered heavy declines on Wednesday as tech stocks stumbled and Tesla plunged after its “Battery Day" event fell short of expectations. Musk’s fortune dropped by almost $10 billion.
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Zhong now leads a wealth ranking in China that is typically dominated by people who made their fortunes from tech companies.
While Zhong has surpassed Ma as China’s wealthiest, the tech tycoon might soon regain the top spot, which he’s held for most of the past six years after Alibaba went public in the U.S. Ant Group’s IPO next month is poised to boost his fortune, with his stake valued at $28 billion if the company achieves the $250 billion valuation people familiar with the matter have said it’s targeting.
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