A businessman who sells bottled water is now the richest man in China. The business magazine Bloomberg named Mr Zhong Shanshan as China's richest man in its latest Billionaires Index. The magazine said Mr Zhong is worth over $58 billion. This makes him $2 billion richer than the previous number one, Jack Ma. Mr Ma founded the retail Internet giant Alibaba. Mr Zhong made his wealth from his Nongfu Spring bottled water company. He then branched out into making vaccines. He is the chairman of a vaccine manufacturer called the Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy. Mr Zhong is now 17th on the global rich list. It seems that he will move up that list in the future.
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Zhong Shanshan, 66, was a construction worker before he got into business. He started his Nongfu Spring company in 1996. This was just as China's market for bottled water was emerging. Bottled water is now a huge industry in China. Most people who live in China prefer drinking bottled water to tap water for health reasons. They prefer not to trust tap water. Zhong's pharmaceutical company is also helping in the fight against COVID-19. It is developing a nasal-spray vaccine with the help of researchers from a top university. Chinese media call Mr Zhong a "lone wolf" because he is rarely seen in public. He rarely gives interviews and he likes to keep himself to himself.