China's richest man is the chairman and majority shareholder of Hangzhou Wahaha Group, a consumer goods company–beverages, food, baby formula–he founded with two retired primary school teachers and a $22,048 loan in 1987. Wahaha, which means "laughing child" in Mandarin, is the third-largest soft drink maker in China, trailing Coca-Cola and Tingyi.
China Mengniu Dairy Co., the country’s largest dairy producer, agreed to buy 26.9 percent of China Modern Dairy Holdings Ltd. for HK$3.18 billion ($409 million) to gain greater control of milk supplies amid food safety concerns in the country.
Hangzhou Wahaha Group Co., the beverage maker owned by China’s richest man, signed a sponsorship deal with 19-time English soccer champion Manchester United Plc to draw sports fans to its energy drink.
Shi Zhengrong, founder of Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd. and an Australian citizen, has been barred from leaving China along with the company’s chief executive officer, David King, while authorities investigate the state of the company’s finances.
The ranks of China’s ultra-wealthy in its legislature swelled 20 percent this year, highlighting the vested interests that may oppose any measures by incoming President Xi Jinping to reduce the nation’s wealth gap.
Bloomberg Markets’ inaugural list of the world’s richest people showcases the billionaires who pull the levers on the global economy. Their net worth totals $2.7 trillion, about the size of the gross domestic product of France, the fifth-biggest economy on the planet.