China’s Richest Man Considers IPO for Department Store Business

China’s Richest Man Considers IPO for Department Store Business

Zong Qinghou, China’s richest man who is worth an estimated $11.3 billion, is considering an initial public offering of his department store businesses.

There is no specific timeframe for the share sale, Zong said at a press conference in Beijing today. The billionaire controls food and beverage conglomerate Hangzhou Wahaha Group Co., which plans to have 100 malls in China in the next three to five years, according to a statement from the closely held company today.Profits from Wahaha’s drinks operations have helped boost the fortunes of the 67-year-old billionaire, who with his family holds more than 80 percent of the company. Wahaha, which makes bottled water to baby formula, generated $10.3 billion in revenue in last year. Zong in a 2011 interview with Bloomberg said he would make a push into department stores.

Profit margins in the department store business are “much better than in manufacturing,” Zong said at the time.

Wahaha, whose name means “Laughing Child” in Chinese, is the third largest soft drinks company in China, with a market share of about 7.3 percent, according to Euromonitor International. Coca-Cola Co. is the largest with a 15.7 percent share.

Zong helped found the Hangzhou-based company 26 years ago with a $22,048 loan, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Wahaha gets almost all its revenue from China, where economic growth is slowing and cost pressures are rising. China’s gross domestic product slowed to 7.5 percent in the second quarter, from 7.7 percent in the first quarter.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Tian Ying in Beijing at

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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