No. 4 Wang Junlin
Company: Langjiu Group
Net worth: US$4.6 billion
Trained in medicine, Wang Junlin is the CEO and Chairman of Sichuan-based Baijiu company, Langjiu Group.
Nicknamed as “chief of the fire brigade” for taking on tough tasks, Wang is credited for steering the baijiu company from the brink of bankruptcy to becoming one of the most profitable drinks companies alongside state-owned behemoths like Kweichow Moutai.
Wang’s fortune comes from his more than 76% controlling shares in the privately owned Langjiu Group, which is valued at RMB 130 billion (US$19.4 billion) in 2021. His net worth is at US$4.8 billion by Forbes.
Langjiu is one of the six most renowned baijiu brands from China’s biggest baijiu producing province in Sichuan. The others include Wuliangye, Luzhou Laojiao, Jiannanchun, Shuijingfang and Tuopai.
Wang was appointed Chairman and CEO of Langjiu in 2001 when the company was heavily in debt, RMB 1 billion to be exact as he recounted. He turned around the company by enforcing heavy restructuring and management changes. Sales revenue more than tripled from 2001’s RMB 300 million to over RMB 1 billion by 2012.
During his leadership, Langjiu tried three times to be publicly listed but all were denied or aborted, and its most recent attempt in 2022 was terminated by Wang himself. It’s not clear if IPO is still on his agenda, but according to Chinese media reports, Wang said for now he only wants to focus on selling baijiu.