Who are the (non-alcoholic) beverage billionaires?

When the water company Nongfu Springs went public, its IPO bump briefly made the founder China’s richest man. And, it got us thinking -- who are the other beverage billionaires?

September 17, 2020

A Chinese water company (Nongfu Springs) went public last week in Hong Kong and — after a strong IPO — its founder was momentarily China’s richest person. 

Zhong Shanshan owns more than 80% of Nongfu Springs and, as of yesterday, was worth $52B (No. 2 in China, No. 21 in the world). Either way, #SoManyCommas. 

China’s bottled water market is growing rapidly 

According to The Economist, China has seen average annual consumption of bottled water increase from 41 liters in 2014 to 59 liters in 2019. 

This still lags America (141 liters) and — as most tap water in China is undrinkable — means the market could be bigger.

Rising incomes also boost the thirst for bottled water. Nongfu currently has access to China’s top 10 fresh water spots and supplies 29% of the market.

Shanshan isn’t the only Chinese beverage billionaire

When you filter Forbes billionaire list for “beverages,” here are the names minting serious moolah from non-alcoholic drinks: 

We can’t speak for the Chinese drinks. But fair warning to anyone with the plums to combine Red Bull and Arizona Tall Boy Ice Tea Cans: don’t do it.

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