No. 8 Wu Xiangdong of Jindong Group
Company: Jindong Group
Net worth: US$1.7 billion
Wu Xiangdong is the founder of Jindong Group, a leading wine and spirits producer and distributor based in Hunan province of central China. His fortune is estimated at US$1.7 billion, according to Forbes.
Nicknamed as “Godfather of Baijiu”, Wu built an empire that touches on every aspect of the fiery spirit from production to distribution to brand creation to retailing.
Founded in 1996, the company was formerly known as Jinliufu Group and VATS Group before it formally changed its name into Jindong Group in 2016. According to its company description, its business covers wine and spirits production, distribution and financial investment.
Jindong owns 12 baijiu brands including Jinliufu, a famous baijiu brand. It also owns three wineries in Yunnan and Shandong, including Shangri-la wine group.
It also operates a liquor distribution chain store called VATS Liquor store where it distributes known Baijiu brands from Kweichow Moutai to its own brands, as well as popular wines such as DBR Lafite and Penfolds.
According to its website, it also hired British Master of Wine Alun Griffins as its international buyer. Its distribution network spans 31 provinces and cities across the country with over 2000 stores.
In 2021, VATS turned in RMB 7.46 billion in sales, a year-on-year increase of 50.97%, according to Chinese language newspaper Hunan Daily.
Aside from drinks business, Jindong also set up an investment company in 2015.