BEIJING • A bottled-water and vaccine tycoon has become China's wealthiest person in a day also marked by massive losses among the world's tech elite.
Mr Zhong Shanshan's net worth reached US$58.7 billion (S$80.7 billion) on Wednesday, US$2 billion more than Mr Jack Ma's, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Mr Zhong is now Asia's second-richest person, behind India's Mr Mukesh Ambani, and the 17th wealthiest person overall.
Nicknamed "Lone Wolf" for his eschewing of politics and clubby business groups, Mr Zhong's fortune has jumped almost US$52 billion this year, more than anyone else in the world except Amazon.com's Mr Jeff Bezos and Tesla's Mr Elon Musk.
Both suffered heavy declines on Wednesday as tech stocks stumbled and Tesla plunged after its "Battery Day" event fell short of expectations.
Mr Musk's fortune dropped by almost US$10 billion.
The initial public offering (IPO) of bottled-water company Nongfu Spring - which turned out to be Hong Kong's most popular among retail investors - propelled Mr Zhong to China's top three richest earlier this month.
That came after the April listing of vaccine-maker Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise pushed his net worth to US$20 billion by early last month.
Mr Zhong now leads a wealth ranking in China that is typically dominated by people who made their fortunes from tech companies.
Mr Zhong Shanshan's net worth as at Wednesday, US$2 billion more than Mr Jack Ma's, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
The estimated amount by which Mr Zhong's fortune jumped this year.
While Mr Zhong has surpassed Mr Ma as China's wealthiest, the tech tycoon might soon regain the top spot, which he had held for most of the past six years after Alibaba went public.
The Ant Group's IPO next month is poised to boost Mr Ma's fortune, with his stake valued at US$28 billion if the company achieves the US$250 billion valuation that people familiar with the matter have said it is targeting.