Learning from Zong Qinghou, Canteen Merchant Becomes China's Richest Man


Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – Chinese conglomerate Zong Qinghou died at the age of 79, Sunday (25/2/2024). This sad news was conveyed directly by his company, Wahana, on Sunday morning local time.

It is not known the exact cause of the departure of China's richest man. However, a few days earlier Chinese media reported that Qinghou was undergoing treatment in hospital. It is also not known what disease Qinghou suffered from.


For almost 8 decades in the world, Qinghou's life journey has been an inspiration for everyone. Long before he had assets of US$ 5.9 billion or Rp. 92 trillion, Qinghou lived in poverty.

This man, who was born on November 16 1945, was born in conditions of complete deprivation. His parents were teachers who earned very low wages.

Plus, his family was also hit by repression by the Chinese communist government. Quote Economic Times, this could happen because Qinghou's ancestor was a hero and famous capitalist. On this basis, his family's life was very difficult, even Qinghou dropped out of school because he had no money.

After dropping out of school, Qinghou in his teens decided to work odd jobs. Starting from salt farmers, tea pickers, to laborers. Even though he has been doing it for years, this job has not changed his life. He remained poor and destitute.

Until finally, a bright spot of life change appeared in 1979 when he was 34 years old. At that time he dared to become an entrepreneur even though he was no longer young. His business is selling children's milk using bicycles.

Apart from that, he also worked as a canteen seller at the school where his mother taught, in Huangzhou. In the canteen, Qinghou not only sells food, but also stationery.

Quote Dimsum Daily, the business is growing very rapidly even though it is in the school canteen. Until finally, his work ethic and entrepreneurial abilities were noticed by the Huangzhou government. He was drawn into being the manager of a beverage company.

Long story short, under Qinghou's control, the company made huge profits. Sales increased drastically. He also became more confident in starting his own company. As a result, with a loan of 140,000 yuan, he founded the Wahana dairy company in 1987.

At the same time, the Chinese government is pursuing a free milk program for school children. Qinghou as a dairy businessman clearly made a big profit from this project. As a result, Wahana immediately became a success. Qinghou also made a profit of 4.88 million Yuan or the equivalent of Rp. 10 billion today.

Since then, Qinghou's life, from being impoverished, has begun to change. Wahana's business grew even bigger after establishing a collaboration with the French company, Danone, in 1996. This collaboration resulted in Wahana receiving large investment, as well as obtaining the rights to produce, distribute and sell Danone products under the Wahana brand.

After that, Wahana's business grew to include not only milk, but also other beverage products, such as soda drinks, packaged tea and mineral water. Due to minimal competitors, Wahana's products have become 'kings' on the market. Wahana's success clearly made Qinghou rich.

On this basis, Forbes in 2010 ranked him as the richest person in China. Even until he died and had a conflict with Danone, he was still one of China's richest people.

[Gambas:Video CNBC]

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