Zong Qinghou (宗庆后) is the founder, chairman of the board of directors and general manger of Wahaha Group, China's largest and most profitable beverage producer . He tops the 2013 New Fortune 500 Rich List with 70 billion yuan (US$11.38 billion) in personal assets.
He ranked first on the annual China Rich List published by Hurun Report Inc on Sept. 24, 2012, making him only the third person in 14 years time able to retain the crown twice in a row.
In August 2013, Wang Jianlin was named named China's wealthiest person with an estimated fortune of US$14.2 billion. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Wang was US$3.2 billion richer than Zong who was with an estimated fortune of US$11 billion.
As China's second wealthiest person, Zong Qinghou owns 80 percent of the Wahaha Group, with his family's fortune mounting to 80 billion yuan (US$12.6 billion) in 2012 from 68 billion yuan (US$10.7 billion) in 2011- with a little help from the company's net profit of US$1 billion that year.
Born on Oct. 12, 1945 in Suqian, Jiangsu Province, Zong and his father moved to Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, when he was 17. After graduating from high school in 1963, Zong did manual labor in the salt fields of Zhoushan. In 1964, he became a dispatcher on a farm in Lüxing. From 1978 to 1987, he successively worked as a salesman, a business agent, a sales manager and a project contractor for different Hangzhou companies. Then in 1989, Zong established the Wahaha Nutritious Food Factory and acted as factory manager. Since 1991, he has served as chairman of the board of directors and general manager of the Wahaha Group. In 1999, he received a U.S. green card.
From 1981 to 1983, Zong studied at the Hangzhou Workers Amateur University, majoring in enterprise management. From 1987 to 1988, he studied with the China Director's (Manager's) Work Research Association, at Zhejiang Television University and Zhejiang Municipal Party School, majoring in leadership and enterprise management.
Zong served as executive member for the China Federation of Industrial Economics in 1996, vice president of China Health Food Association in 1997, president of the Zhejiang Provincial Beverage Industry Association in 1998, and vice chairman of the Executive Council of Zhejiang Provincial Food Society in 1999.
Zong was elected deputy to the Zhejiang Provincial People's Congress and the Hangzhou Municipal People's Congress in 1998, deputy to the 10th National People's Congress in 2003, and deputy to the 11th National People's Congress in 2007.
Zong injured in knife attack
On Sept. 13, 2013, Zong Qinghou was attacked with a knife near his residence in Hangzhou and local police confirmed on Sept. 18 that they have arrested a suspect. Zong was instantly sent to the Second Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine, where he was treated. Police said Zong sustained injuries to tendons in two fingers of his left hand. The Wahaha Group said the company's business had not been affected, while Zong had already resumed work after the attack. Further investigation is under way.