Private billionaire Zhong Shanshan has become Asia's richest person, surpassing Chinese tech titans like Jack Ma and Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani, Bloomberg has reported.
According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Zhong's net worth has increased $70.9 billion this year to $77.8 billion, making him the 11th-richest person on earth.
In September, the businessman who spun his wealth from bottled water and vaccines had usurped Jack Ma as China's richest man.
Zhong's Nongfu Spring, which claims to be number one in China's massive bottled water market, is ubiquitous across a country where most people shun tap water for health reasons. The company raised nearly $1.1 billion in its initial public offering.
Zhong is also the chairman of Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Co. Ltd., a vaccine manufacturer that listed on the mainland in April.
It is developing a Covid-19 vaccine nasal spray in conjunction with a prominent university.
Zhong, a 66-year-old former reporter from Zhejiang who state media say was also once a construction worker, is often referred to by Chinese media as a "lone wolf" for his rare public appearances and reluctance to be interviewed.
(With inputs from AFP)