Reliance Industries (RIL) Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani is no longer Asia’s richest person as Chinese billionaire Zhong Shanshan has succeeded over the title. Zhong’s net worth has surged $70.9 billion this year to $77.8 billion, making him the 11th-richest person on the planet, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. It’s one of the fastest accumulations of wealth in history, and all the more remarkable considering that until this year he was little known outside of China.

He owes his success to two unrelated fields. He took vaccine maker Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise Co. public in April, then months later Nongfu Spring Co., a maker of bottled water, became one of Hong Kong’s hottest listings. Nongfu shares have jumped 155% since their debut, and Wantai’s are up more than 2000%.

Reliance Industries (RIL) Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani is no longer Asia’s richest person. The Indian billionaire is replaced by Zhong Shanshan, vaccine magnate and founder of China’s largest bottled water company Nongfu Spring.

Further, Nongfu Spring shares became an instant hit in September this year when they were listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange. Nongfu shares have soared around 155 per cent since their debut. Nongfu Spring’s red-capped bottles are sold across China from small shops to high-end hotels. The company also sells teas, juices and flavoured vitamin drinks.

Ambani has also had an extraordinary year — striking deals to transform his conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd. into a technology and e-commerce titan — and seeing his fortune surge $18.3 billion to $76.9 billion.

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