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#300 Zong Qinghou $5.50B

Random fact: Works from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. in an office that has a bed.


Zong is the chairman of Hangzhou Wahaha Group, the largest soft drink maker in China. He founded the Hangzhou-based company in 1987 and controls 80 percent of the business along with his family. The closely held group also makes consumer goods such as food, baby formula and children's apparel, and had revenue of $7.2 billion in 2015.

As of July 22, 2017:
Last change +$83.6M (+1.5%)
YTD change -$1.78B (-24.4%)
Industry Food & Beverage
Biggest asset Hangzhou Wahaha Group Co.
Citizenship China
Age 71
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Zong Qinghou's net worth of $5.50B can buy ...

troy ounces of gold
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

of the GDP of the United States
of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
of U.S. existing home sales
times the median U.S. household income

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The majority of Zong's fortune is derived from closely held Hangzhou Wahaha Group. Zong and his family control more than 80 percent of the Hangzhou-based beverage producer. The group had revenue of $7.2 billion in 2015, according to top 500 company lists from the All-China Federation of Industry & Commerce and the China Enterprise Confederation. The valuation was updated on April 3, 2017 to reflect 2015 revenue, which is about 30 percent lower than the previous figure used in this analysis. Hangzhou Wahaha Group is the largest soft drink maker in China, according its website in April 2017.

The valuation is based on the average enterprise value-to-sales and enterprise value-to-Ebitda multiple of three publicly traded peer companies: Tingyi Cayman Islands Holding, Uni-President China and China Huiyuan Juice Group.

Shan Qining, a Wahaha spokesman based in Hangzhou, confirmed Zong's stake in Wahaha in a 2012 interview. He declined to comment on Zong's net worth.


Birthdate: 10/12/1945
Family: Married, 1 child
Education: Graduated, Central South University of Technology

Zong Qinghou founded a grocery store with two retired teachers and a $22,000 loan in 1987, selling popsicles, sodas and stationery to nearby school students. Four years later, the company changed its name to Wahaha after buying a money-losing, state-owned food company with 2,000 workers for $12.6 million.

Wahaha has benefited from China's rapid economic growth in the past two decades. It has about 60 factories in 29 provinces across the country, making beverages, food and baby formula, as well as children's apparel. Zong, together with his wife Shi Youzhen and daughter Kelly Zong Fuli, owns more than 80 percent of the company. He called himself "China's poorest chairman" in a March 2011 interview with Bloomberg News.

Wahaha formed a joint venture with French food and drinkmaker Groupe Danone in 1996. The venture had grown into 39 factories across China by 2007, when the collaboration began to sour over a dispute regarding the use of the Wahaha brand. Zong bought Danone out of the partnership following two years of legal battles in 2009. The deal was brokered by the Chinese and French governments. Both companies declined to disclose the price of the stake sale, which was reported as $379 million by China's Caijing Magazine.

His daughter, Kelly Zong, is expected to take over the company when he retires.

  • 1945 Zong Qinghou is born in Suqian, in eastern China's Jiangsu province.
  • 1962 Family moves to Hangzhou, where Wahaha is based now.
  • 1987 Founded a grocery store in a school.
  • 1989 Changes the company's name to Wahaha.
  • 1991 Becomes chairman of Hangzhou Wahaha.
  • 1996 Forms a joint venture with Groupe Danone SA.
  • 1998 Creates "Future Coke" soda to take on Coca-Cola.
  • 2002 Introduces children's apparel.
  • 2003 Becomes a delegate to the National People's Congress.
  • 2009 Buys out Danone's share of their joint venture.