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Chinese Billionaire and Wahaha Founder, Zong Qinghou, Diead at 79

China 25.02.2024
Source: The DairyNews
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Zong Qinghou, the self-made Chinese billionaire and founder of Wahaha Group, passed away at the age of 79 due to illness. His journey from a farming commune during Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution to becoming China's richest man symbolized the nation's transformation into the world's second-largest economy.
Chinese Billionaire and Wahaha Founder, Zong Qinghou, Diead at 79
Born before the Communist Party's rise to power, Zong's entrepreneurial spirit flourished in the late 1970s when Deng Xiaoping initiated economic reforms, allowing private businesses and foreign investments. Zong, with a $22,000 family loan, founded Wahaha in 1987, turning it into a leading beverage brand and accumulating billions in wealth.

One of Zong's notable achievements was his clash with French food giant Danone over the Wahaha brand. After a decade-long partnership, disputes led to lawsuits and government intervention. In 2009, Danone agreed to sell its stake in Wahaha to Zong, making him China's richest man by 2012, with a fortune of $20.1 billion.

Despite Wahaha's initial success, the company faced challenges as it struggled to adapt to changing consumer preferences and faced competition from rivals. Zong's daughter and successor, Zong Fuli "Kelly," faced difficulties in expanding the company's reach through acquisitions.

Zong, known for his frugal lifestyle, became a critic of the e-commerce industry, advocating for policies supporting the "real economy" over the "Internet economy" in China's legislature. His passing marks the end of an era for one of China's iconic entrepreneurs who played a significant role in the nation's economic evolution.
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April 2024
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