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Zhong Shanshan, Chinese Entrepreneur, Zhong Shanshan Biography,

The Rise of Zhong Shanshan: From Construction Worker to Bottled Water Tycoon

Early Life and Education

Zhong Shanshan was born in Hangzhou, China, in 1954. During the Cultural Revolution, he dropped out of primary school and worked in construction. In 1977, he enrolled at Zhejiang Radio & TV University, where he studied Chinese. After graduating, he worked as a journalist at Zhejiang Daily before quitting in 1988 to start his own business.

Zhong Shanshan

Family and Personal Life

Zhong Shanshan is married to Lu Xiaoping, and together they have three children. Known for maintaining a low public profile, Zhong is often referred to as a “lone wolf” by Chinese media. He resides primarily in an apartment in Xihu District, Hangzhou, near the headquarters of his company, Nongfu Spring, which is close to the scenic West Lake.

Career Highlights

In 1988, Zhong moved to Hainan, where he sold mushrooms, prawns, and turtles. He also worked at the Wahaha beverage company as a sales agent and sold healthcare supplements. In 1996, Zhong founded a bottled water company in Hangzhou, which later became Nongfu Spring. A significant marketing move in 1999—deciding not to remove natural minerals from its water—helped the company gain considerable exposure. Nongfu Spring grew to become the largest bottled water maker in China and one of the largest beverage companies globally.

Zhong’s company outperformed industry giants like Coca-Cola, Watsons, and Pepsi to become China’s best-selling packaged beverage brand. He leveraged new technologies such as cloud computing and big data to understand his customer base and expand his market. By 2012, Nongfu Spring’s natural water had become the most popular bottled water in China and remained the top seller of packaged beverages in China for eight consecutive years.

Nongfu Spring’s initial public offering in September 2020 significantly increased Zhong’s wealth. He became China’s wealthiest or second-wealthiest person, according to Bloomberg and Forbes, respectively. By the end of 2020, Forbes listed him as Asia’s wealthiest person. In January 2021, Forbes reported that Zhong was China’s wealthiest and the world’s sixth wealthiest person, with a net worth of $95 billion. He briefly held the title of Asia’s wealthiest person before being overtaken by Mukesh Ambani of India.

Zhong’s rise in wealth coincided with a surge in Chinese billionaires, with over 100 minted in 2020, collectively adding $0.5 trillion. By September 2020, he owned a 75% stake in Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy, which went public in April 2020, further increasing his wealth. As of January 2021, he owned 84.4% of Nongfu Spring and served as the company’s chairperson.


Zhong Shanshan is the founder and chairperson of Nongfu Spring, the largest bottled water maker in China and one of the largest beverage companies in the world. He also owns a majority stake in Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise.

Major Achievements

Zhong Shanshan has achieved remarkable success in the beverage industry. He founded Nongfu Spring, which became the best-selling packaged beverage brand in China. Utilizing new technologies to understand his customer base and expand his market, Nongfu Spring’s natural water became the most popular bottled water in China in 2012 and held the top spot in packaged beverages in China for eight consecutive years.

Awards and Recognitions

Zhong Shanshan has received numerous awards and recognitions for his achievements in the business world. He was named “Entrepreneur of the Year” by the China Entrepreneur Club in 2018 and was listed among the “50 Most Influential People in China” by Fortune magazine in 2019.


Zhong Shanshan, often described as a “lone wolf,” continues to maintain a low public profile despite his immense success. He lives with his wife, Lu Xiaoping, and their three children in Hangzhou’s Xihu District. His leadership has not only made Nongfu Spring a household name but also positioned him as a prominent figure in the global business landscape.


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