(Bloomberg) — Zhong Shanshan, whose schooling was interrupted during China’s cultural revolution, worked in construction, as a reporter and in the bottled-water business. Today, he’s worth $17 billion after his drug company went public in April and the shares surged 26-fold.
Known as Lone Wolf by the Chinese media, Zhong, 65, has a made-for-movie story, but it’s far from unique in China. At least 24 people have become billionaires this year through June from the country’s raging market for initial public offerings, including former teachers, accountants and software developers, according to data compiled by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Selling shares to the public has long been a lucrative channel for company owners in China to grow their fortunes, but 2020 should have been different after the coronavirus pandemic shut down large parts of the economy and slowed growth. Instead, buoyed by an army of retail investors looking for quick returns,