At the last 2014 count China had 152 billionaires all over its territory.
Here are some of them whose fortunes were made thanks to the growing industries of Chinese Tobacco and Food and Beverages industries.
There are more than 350 million smokers in China. And Euromonitor International researchers said that cigarettes would be hitting 1.8 trillion yuan in 2015 in retail sales. In 2012 the tobacco industry revenues turned over 717 billion yuan. Among which 6% went to the government coffers through taxes. The tobacco industry in China is indeed entwined with the government. This is why it is providing about 7% of the central government’s total revenue each year.
China also has the largest state-owned tobacco company in the world, The China National Tobacco Corporation. In fact in 2008 the company manufactured 2.1 trillion cigarettes out of the 5.9 trillion produced worldwide.
Among the 1,226 billionaires in the world, only 15 are women self-made billionaires. According to Forbes half of these female high-flyers are on China’s mainland.
One of the most famous is Chu Lam Yiu a Hong Kong entrepreneur with a net worth of $2.1 billion. Her self-made fortune comes from her food, and tobacco flavourings business: Huabao International. Although she sold most of the shares of her company in 2008 and 2009, she still owns 51% of it.
Food and Beverages Industry
There is an old Chinese saying about food that states: “Eating is as important as the sky”. This is then no wonder to see such successful persons in the Food and Beverages industry.
In fact the Chinese market of food and beverages is the second fastest growing worldwide with an average annual growth rate of 30 per cent since 2009, according to data from the Economist. In 2011, China also became the world’s largest market for food and grocery retail. China ranks fourth largest importer of food in the world with imports growing around 15% each year in the last five years. In 2012, the full-year production value was estimated to be USD $1.6 trillion.
With such a booming market, billionaires could not help but flourish in this field. The most well-known is Zong Qinghou, who is worth$11.6 billion. He is owner of Wahaha, the local leader of beverages. The company is specialized in making ready-to-drink items. He is one of the richest man in mainland China he is ranked 6th in this year’s Forbes ranking of Chinese billionaires. In 2012 his company reported $1.6 billion profits before taxes.
Another successful chairman of an F&B’s company, Tsai Eng-Meng, ranked first of 2013’s Forbes Taiwan Rich List for the third year in a row. He is worth $9.6 billion, one million less than in 2013 due to a drop of his company in the Hong Kong stock exchange. His company named “Want Want China” sells all kinds of snacks from rice crackers to spicy peanuts and drinks. The company’s annual sales reached $3.8 billion in 2013. Although Taiwan’s richest man’s first source of revenue comes from pleasing 1.3 billion palates, he is also investing in finance, media and hotels.
The second rank on Taiwan’s 50 richest people is going to the Wei family, another fortune made in the Chinese Food and Beverage industry. The family is composed of four brothers that are leading the biggest supplier of instant noodle and ready-to-drink tea in China: Tingyi. The company is listed in Hong Kong, and is a partner of Shanghai Disney Resort and PepsiCo. The family is also investing in real estate, restaurants, and Telecom. Their wealth has totaled $8.6 billion this year.
To go further:
- The Economist
- Better understand the Chinese market
- How to improve your sales in the Food industry